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Grief and Anger from Families; Twitter Storm from Trump; Theresa May Looking for Support; North Korea's Brutality; Growing Russia Probe; Anger and Grief in London. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 16, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Grief and anger after a deadly fire. Londoners now demanding answers and action from their politicians.

The U.S. President Donald Trump lashing out after reports he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice.

Plus, the American relationship with Cuba. How Mr. Trump could change the Obama era strides in diplomacy.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta we want to welcome our viewers around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN newsroom starts right now.

Good day to you. We begin this day in the United Kingdom. The high rise fire in west London, the fire commissioner is making a stunning admission about the deadly tragedy that took place there.

Dany Cotton says she has no idea how many people are still missing from Wednesday's incident. She believes it would be an absolute miracle if anyone else is still alive. That's a sobering bit of news for relatives who have been holding on to hope.

Listen as one woman describes her last telephone conversation with a loved one who was trapped inside that building.


ROHEMA KHANOM, RELATIVE MISSING IN LONDON APARTMENT: She said, we're not going to make it, we can't make it. We can see flames from the door. We have been at the door. And I kept saying, try and put things under the door to stop the smoke coming in and get as low as you can and open the window. Someone is going to come. Call the fire brigade, do something. Then she stopped talking. All I could hear was the crackling noise in the background because the phone was still on but she wasn't saying anything.


HOWELL: Just one family left with the aftermath of what you see here, this building that was destroyed. At least 17 people confirmed dead. Police say that number is likely to rise as crews continue their search through the building.

We're also getting a look at what the interior of the apartment looks like right now. Pictures that show the charred remains of what once was a home to as many as 500 people.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin is following the story for us live in London at this hour. Erin, what can you tell us about thus investigation certainly in its early stages? Do we know anything new?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, George, authorities say right now their top priorities is really twofold to figure out the number of people missing. They still do not know how many people were missing at the time of this fire. And to recover the bodies from inside the building.

In terms of the recovery process, authorities say it could take weeks for them to go through that entire building. They're really facing, they say, hazardous conditions inside. They had to pull crews from the building yesterday because the fire restarted. They said that there's some 17 people so far confirmed dead. That number is expected to rise.

Six bodies recovered from outside of the building, 11 bodies seen though not recovered inside the building. But, again, the figure is expected to go up. So many people believed to be missing. Authorities though, as I said, do not have a figure for us at this time. They are working furiously to try and establish who was inside the building at the time of the fire.

There was so much confusion also that followed the fire, that fielded some 5,000 phone calls reporting people missing. One person, for example, was reported missing 46 times. There's confusion, authorities say, in terms of names. Some people had nicknames.

So they're really trying to right now establish a concrete list. They're urging families of people who are missing to go to a local sports center to meet there with detectives as authorities are trying to get more information for them in regards to this strategy because information really is what these families need right now.

HOWELL: People still missing here, and as you point out. We know now full well that many of the people there, many of them may never be identified. What more can you tell us about this memorial that's been set up to remember the victims?

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, this is one of many makeshift memorials that have been set up here in London. I'm at a local community center that's not far from where the fire took place. People have been coming here to drop off donations. You can see that people, community members, Londoners are stopping, they're laying flowers. Candles.

[03:05:05] They're also posting signs asking for more information about people believed to be missing in the fire. There's also a range of emotions that we're seeing here amidst the messages of grief and compassion. We're seeing calls for justice.

That message over there, you can see we want answers. And it was that mix of emotions that was encountered yesterday by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. He was visiting a church and he was met with anger. Take a listen.


SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: Understandably the residents are very angry and concerned and have genuine questions that demand answers. And so what we're as...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone needs to be held accountable.

KHAN: Of course we're...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These deaths could have been prevented.

KHAN: Of course, we welcome the call from the prime minister of an independent public inquiry with answers now.


KHAN: And that's why I'm calling on...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now a year from now, now two years from now, we need it now.


MCLAUGHLIN: So many questions persist about why that building was not fit with proper sprinkler system. One local counsel telling BBC that the sprinkler system was not part of a 2015-2016 refurbishment because it would have caused delays. Questions as to why that was. Questions also about the cladding it was on the outside of the building, many locals pointing to the cladding as having contributed to the spread of the fire, that local councilor saying that that cladding will no longer be used.

All of that though will be the subject of an inquiry, an independent inquiry announced by British Prime Minister Theresa May. The police have also announced their own separate investigation, led by a senior police officer. George.

HOWELL: And the writing there on the wall, Erin, right behind you, we want answers, as you pointed out, the word justice and rest in peace. That is the sentiment there in west London.

Erin McLaughlin live on the ground reporting for us. Thank you for the report. There has been an outpouring of support for the fire's victims and amid the grief and anguish, some families they are clinging to the unlikely hope that more survivors will be found as our Oren Liebermann reports for us. OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The Noting Hill Methodist Church

very close to the scene of the fire has in and of itself become the scene of a memorial and ongoing candlelight vigil.

You can take a look behind me. People have come, dozens, if not hundreds of people have come to say a few words, with these flowers, to think and to mourn respectfully as well as to light some of these candles here as they hope there are some miracles left in this story while worrying and fearing that the number of dead at this point will only rise.

Jessica Urbano's family is still holding out hope against all odds. They're out there walking the streets, handing out fliers, hoping perhaps someone saw the 12-year-old girl who lived on the 20th floor, someone saw her get out, or maybe she is in a hospital, unconscious, unable to tell her family she is OK.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hoping that that's the case she will wake up soon and let us know where she is.


LIEBERMANN: In the first minutes of the confusion of the fire, Urbana was separated from her family, her cousin says, and the smoke and the fire and the chaos spread as quickly as the flames. The last time they spoke was at 1.40 in the morning, 45 minutes after the fire started.


JASON GARCIA, JESSICA URBANO'S COUSIN: The last we heard from her, two phone calls that she made from inside the building, from another person's phone, who we also understand to be missing. So since that second phone call we have no contact at all.


LIEBERMANN: If you walk around this neighborhood near the fire you cannot miss the face of Jessica Urbano, her friends are wearing her picture on their shirts. We've seen her picture taped to concrete walls and they're flying on cars, anything they can do to get the message out and to get word out about Jessica Urbano.

Jessica Urbano is one among many still missing. There are fliers with more faces, more pleas for help and more families who want answers.


AHMED COLAT, RELATIVE OF MISSING RESIDENT: The police are reporting that the number of dead is rising and rising and we don't know who, we don't know who and whether they're ones in hospital, we still don't know what's going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LIEBERMANN: For Ahmed Colat, grief has turned into frustration. His sister's family and their three children were inside the tower, the youngest child is still missing.


COLAT: We are still hoping they might be in a different place, they might be in a different list. We don't know.


LIEBERMANN: At community centers, churches and mosques in the area there's been an outpouring of support, Londoners trying to help so many families who now find themselves homeless, many overflowing with clothing, food and donations, turning away any more, as a way to ease the transition for the hardest hit.


GARCIA: People coming in from all parts of London, they were anywhere else, bringing in stuff. It has been amazing to see how everyone is helping each other.


LIEBERMANN: The fires swept through the Grenfell towers so rapidly that every life saved in a miracle. Every life lost a tragedy.

[03:10:04] More than 36 hours after the fire, Jessica Urbano's family praying that she is one of the miracles.

There are still many missing, an exact number we don't know, but it is a sign of just how many are still trying to hold out hope. Pictures, names of those who are missing, numbers to call, e-mails in some cases, descriptions, ages, apartments, floors. It is all in an attempt to find those who are missing by loved ones, by friends, by family, trying to get some answers where until now there have been none.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, London.

HOWELL: Oren, thank you. Now for some of the people still missing after this fire. (Inaudible)lived on the 20th floor. You see him here. He was 57 years old. He was reported missing by his sister.

Ennis Murphy lived on the 14th floor. He is 54 and lived at the Grenfell tower for 25 years. He last spoke with his family early on Wednesday morning when he called to say that the building was on fire, he called to tell them that he couldn't breathe.

Otaku (Ph) and his wife and their three year old daughter Maya they haven' been seen since Wednesday. They're believed to have visited the tower in the hours before the fire in order to visit relatives and break their Ramadan fast.

Back here in United States, the ongoing federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, it appears to be gaining traction. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, has hired 13 lawyers now and even more are expected to be brought in.

But the U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing back on media reports that he's being investigated for possible obstruction of justice.

Our Jeff Zeleny has this report for us.

JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: As an obstruction of justice inquiry moves closer to the Oval Office, one question above all hangs over the West Wing tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you believe you are under investigation now?


ZELENY: President Trump had nothing to say about that after signing an executive order today at the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to respond on camera to the Washington Post, Mr. President?


ZELENY: But it didn't stop him from venting about the Russian investigation on Twitter. "You are witnessing the single greatest witch-hunt in American political history, led by some very bad and conflicted people."

Unclear if that message was directed at special counsel Robert Mueller who is leading the investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election or his investigators. The probe is expanding and now examining whether the president attempted to obstruct justice according to the Washington Post.

That bombshell sparked another blistering reaction from the president. "They made up a phony collusion with the Russia story. They found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice."

Despite the president's bombastic tweets, his White House remains silent. At the daily White House briefing held off camera again today, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee-Sanders declined eight times to explain the president's tweets or discuss the investigation.

She referred questions to the president's personal lawyer who issued a statement that did not address whether Mr. Trump was under investigation for obstruction of justice. He instead, took aim at leaks calling them outrageous, inexcusable and illegal. Mueller is now under fire by Trump loyalists like Newt Gingrich who has urged congressional republicans to shut down the independent counsel.


think the congressional republicans ought to look into this. Mueller's first four hires were all democrats, these are bad people.


ZELENY: Few republicans on Capitol Hill seem to agree. Senator John Thune, the third ranking republican in the Senate called Mueller a man of integrity.


JOHN THUNE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: He needs to be able to do his work. I think it's better for all of us if that work continues and it is -- obviously he is going to get to the bottom and he's going to find the facts, and I think that's his role.


ZELENY: Even as Trump stews over Mueller and the Russia investigation at the White House, he struck one unusually sunny note today at the press, often the object much his disdain.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And everybody in this room, including the reporters, God bless you. God bless America.


ZELENY: The president is not the only one here at the White House with his own private lawyer. Vice President Mike Pence also retained his own private counsel to help him through the special counsel's investigation as well as the Russia probe on Capitol Hill. Just one more time this Russia investigation is widening.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

HOWELL: Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

A new package of sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow passed through U.S. Senate on Thursday, approved 98-2. The measure is response to Russian meddling in the U.S. election. It also calls for congressional review if the White House chooses to roll back the sanctions. Legislation now goes to the House of Representatives.

[03:15:02] Let's bring in CNN's Diana Magnay following all of this from Moscow. And Diana, the news of these sanctions and many other things that are happening in this investigations, this is all happening just as President Putin held his annual question and answer session Thursday, spending several hours hearing from ordinary Russians, and the president took the opportunity to touch directly on the Russia investigation.

DIANA MAGNAY, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: He did, George, and he was given that opportunity because of a call-in from an American (Inaudible), a man from Arizona who wanted to ask about Russia probe which gave President Putin the opportunity to come out with some lines that we heard before frankly, that sanctions, even the new sanctions approved by the Senate are nothing new, are part of a centuries old tradition of trying to contain Russia and would in fact make Russia more innovative, more stronger, and that the Russia investigation was really the result of internal political fighting in the U.S. and hyped up by an hysterical press.

You know, we've heard it all before, but he is a man who knows how to make headlines even in four hours of mostly domestic issues. That was when he said that James Comey could be given asylum in the -- in Russia if he wanted. Let's take a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): What makes the FBI director different from Mr. Snowden then? It seems to me that in this case he is not so much the head of an FBI as an activist with his own particular point of view.

By the way, if he faces some sort of prosecution for this, we are prepared to give him political asylum, too. He should know that.


MAGNAY: He said he had been surprised that Comey should write a memo and then leak it to the press, which is why he drew those comparisons with Edward Snowden. He certainly knew how to make a joke at America's expense for the good of the public listening in, George.

HOWELL: CNN's Diana Magnay live with reporting on the Russian president. Some people laughing, I believe maybe some people not laughing. Diana, thank you for the report.

The French President Emmanuel Macron took a gamble when he ran for president with his newly formed party. With parliamentary elections set this weekend he will find out if it paid off.

We have a live report ahead. Also this hour, U.S. lawmakers, we are reporting on how lawmakers turned to baseball to show their support for each other after of course one of their own critically wounded by a gunman. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

[03:19:55] In the United Kingdom the official opening of parliament and the queen's speech has been set for June 21st, two days later than originally scheduled. Also with regards to Brexit the government has announced official talks will begin Monday in Brussels.

A great deal happening, all of it comes as the Prime Minister, Theresa May, continues to court Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, trying to form an alliance to remain in power following her party's lackluster results in snap elections last week. Mrs. may met with leaders of Northern Ireland's other political party on Thursday. Sinn Fein politicians voiced concerns that a deal with the dup could destabilize local politics.


GERRY ADAMS, PRESIDENT, SINN FEIN: We talked to her directly that she was in breach of the Good Friday Agreement and we itemize those matters in which she was dilatory or in default in relation to that agreement.


HOWELL: The Good Friday Agreement states that U.K. -- the U.K. must remain impartial, I should say, when dealing with Northern Ireland's political factions. Now to France. That nation also having their own parliamentary elections on Sunday.

The President, Emmanuel Macron's party is expected to win a majority of seats despite the fact that his party was formed just a year ago.

Let's turn now to CNN's Melissa Bell live for us in the French capital. Melissa, good to have you with us this hour. So this is important, very crucial for this new president to make good on the promises that he made during the campaign trail.

MELISSA BELL, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right. This is a man who, after all, announced that he was going to try and run for the presidency because as economy minister he touched -- and this was his line at the time in August of last year, George, the limits of the system with his own finger.

He knows that this is a country that needs to be reformed. He believes that he is the man who can do it. And so he launched this improbable political gamble saying that he was standing without the benefit of an established party. No one imagined he could do it.

He is, of course, France's president having won the election as convincingly as he did and against all orders, but of course he is alone. This is a man who doesn't have an established party, merely this movement La Republique En Marche created a year ago.

And the second part of his gamble really is trying to get enough M.P.'s elected that he has a functioning majority. The first round of waiting took place last Sunday, the second round comes this Sunday. The polls which have been tended to be pretty accurate in the last few weeks in France suggest that he is on course to achieve something that's never been achieved before in terms of the size of the majority.

He has chosen, George, a particularly colorful cast of characters in his attempt to do it.

Cedric Villani was known as an award-winning mathematician. Now he is campaigning as part of Emmanuel Macron's movement to become a member of parliament. Villani is one of 525 candidates standing for Macron's movement, about half are new to politics and, like VIllani, hope to bring to parliament more than just their ambition.


CEDRIC VILLANI, FRENCH MATHEMATICIAN: I know about science, and science is more important than ever in the public debate, even very technical scientific questions are now every day in debate about climate change or artificial intelligence or you name it.

I've been a teacher and very much involved in the scientific culture, and this would be important because one of the crucial things needed in politics now is people being able to explain to wide audience, not thinking that people are too dumb to understand the complexity, but explaining the complexity in simple terms.


BELL: Jean-Michel Fauvergue hopes to bring another set of skills to parliament. The former head of France's elite police force says security is why he joined Macron's movement.


JEAN-MICHEL FAUVERGUE, CANDIDATE, LA REPUBLIQUE EN MARCHE (through translator): He is a man who can bring people together and, more importantly, for the cop in me he is a real commander in chief.


BELL: Another candidate is Marie Sara, the former bullfighter says she is simply taking to another arena the determination she has shown in the bull ring. Polls suggest she is on course to beat the far right incumbent.


MARIE SARA, CANDIDATE, LA REPUBLIQUE EN MARCHE (through translator): There's an extraordinary movement which is happening in France with a real renewal of the political class. If I can be a part of that, then I will be very proud and I'm going to try to meet people to explain to them that they don't need to be scared.


BELL: It isn't simply that he's on track at the moment, George, to secure a parliamentary majority the likes of which has not been seen in the history of the fifth republic, it is also that very different sort of candidate that he's chosen, people who are not career politicians, people who had, as you saw in that report, other jobs.

Of course, there are still conservative forces he is going to have to take on, the trade unions no doubt who have this ability in France to get large numbers of people on the streets but still he is trying to do something that's simply never been done here in France before.

[03:24:57] And it will be interesting to see whether with that parliamentary majority and very different set of experience that there should be in the French parliament beyond Sunday, Emmanuel Macron is able to deliver on that pledge of reforming France.

HOWELL: Melissa Bell live for us in Paris. Melissa, thank you. And of course, we will be watching over the weekend.

Here in the United States a shooting rampage targeting republican lawmakers brought a rare moment of bipartisan unity. It took place on the baseball field. House majority whip Steve Scalise remains in critical condition, but the hospital says he is improving. This after undergoing surgeries.

The gunman shot him and several others on Wednesday while they were practicing for their annual congressional baseball game. That game went on as planned Thursday night. You see here many people came together. They raised over one million dollars for charity.

Fans showed their support with signs reading team Scalise. Lawmakers said the game had to go on despite the shooting. Senate and House leaders told our reporters that they're focused now on common ground.


MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We ought to be able to have big, robust debates in this country without having this level of animosity that a lot of people feel. I think most Americans have not read a lot of history. We have had a lot of very contentious periods throughout our 230 year history.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: There have been fights in the...


MCCONNELL: Yes, I mean, we haven't had a single incident where a congressman from South Carolina came over and tried to beat up a senator from Massachusetts, that actually happened in the 1850s.


COOPER: Long time ago.

CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: There's always going to be rhetoric, Anderson, but that you can't stop. - that's been the history of the country, as Mitch pointed out, even Cain's on the senate floor.

If we can despite the rhetoric work together in areas where we can work together, and the Senate as the cooling saucer, helping bring people together a little bit, that's a very good thing. I know Mitch does because we've talked about it, we aim to do it.

JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN: Do you think that the rhetoric on the left has gotten too intense, too demonizing of republicans and President Trump?

NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MINORITY LEADER: No, I think that the person who perpetrated the crime yesterday has, but I think that people feel -- believe strongly in their convictions and some people -- I always say you can be passionate about your beliefs but be dispassionate in how you proceed.

PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Sure, there's rhetoric on both sides of the aisle that goes too far and it is our job to help make sure it doesn't go too far but it is still passionate. And that's the base of the tone that we're trying to set.


HOWELL: Well, the game was played. Democrats won that game but they gave the trophy to their republican opponent to put it in the Congressman Scalise's office.

Still ahead on Newsroom, Londoners are growing angry. They want to know why this high rise apartment building erupted into flames. People came together obviously to remember the dead, the victims.

Seventeen people were killed. And London's mayor buffeted by waves of terror attacks and now this fire, tries to lead his city through troubled times. Stay with us.


GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the united -- or around the world, I should say. You are watching CNN Newsroom. It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

The deadly fire in London at the Grenfell tower. It pushed Britain to start inspecting other high rise buildings across the country. Right now officials say it is too early to confirm what caused that fire Wednesday. At least 17 people are confirmed dead. Officials say that number though is likely to rise as crews continue to search that building.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is bringing 13 new lawyers into his team. Mueller is investigating Russian meddling into the U.S. presidential elections. Hours earlier, aides to the Vice President, Mike Pence, confirmed he too has been hired -- he's hired his own lawyer in response to Mueller's probe and congressional inquiries.

A wounded police officer threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the congressional ball game that took place in Washington. The annual contest became a show of unity. This after a gunman critically wounded House majority whip Steve Scalise and hurt several others during baseball practice on Wednesday.

The democrats won that game, beating the republicans 11 to 2.

The British Prime Minister Theresa may has ordered a full public inquiry into the deadly apartment building fire, the fire that took place. She wants -- she's wants what she calls the terrible, terrible tragedy to be investigated properly.


there is a lot of grief here in this community but there i also mounting anger after this disaster took place here. And the people here say that they are demanding answers.

And that's certainly what we also heard when Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London visited the site earlier today. The people came up today and said that they want these answers quickly and he said that he's demanding both a public inquiry, but he's also demanding that there be an interim report ready by the end of the summer.

And that's very important not just because people want to know what happened but also because there are many other buildings, both in the city and also around this country that have similar panels on the side like the one that this building had that many people believe could have accelerated the fire.

Now, Theresa May, the Prime Minister of Britain, also visited the site earlier today. And here is what she had to say after her visit.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Right now people want answers and it is absolutely right, and that's why I am today ordering a full public inquiry into this disaster. We need to know what happened. We need to know -- have an explanation of this. We owe that to the families, to the people who have lost loved ones, friends, and the homes in which they lived.


PLEITGEN: Many of the witnesses that we've been speaking to say they were amazed at the fact that this fire, which apparently started around the fourth floor of the building, all of a sudden spread up the side of the building very, very quickly, and then managed to make its way into the building through a lot of the open windows.

So that's certainly something that the investigators are going to be looking at. But one of the things that they say they need to do first is they need to shore up the building to make sure that the carcass doesn't collapse. It's unclear whether the structure was damaged so badly by the flames and the heat that it might be in danger of collapsing, and only then will the investigation start.

At the same time, of course, the authorities are also involved in what they call a recovery operation where they say they're going to go through the entire building and sweep it to see whether or not there might still be bodies inside.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.

HOWELL: Fred, thank you. Grief surrounding the tragedy has sparked anger and spark frustration, some of it directed at London's Mayor Sadiq Khan as he was visiting the area near Grenfell tower Thursday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do we need that? Why does he need that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are telling me to be quiet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen up, politic goes...


HOWELL: You hear some of the people there, many really angry about what happened here. The mayor though acknowledged the frustrations and supports the prime minister's order for a public inquiry into the fire. Sadiq Khan has been London's mayor now for a little over a year.

During this time his international profile has grown due to the city's terror attacks and his war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump and now this week's high rise fire. Through it all it has tried to be a source of strength and calming presence for Londoners.

Our Christiane Amanpour has this report for us.

[03:35:02] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Sadiq Khan was elected in May of 2016 after a tough acrimonious campaign. His opponent Zack Goldsmith was accused of running a race based on fear and loathing of Khan and his Pakistani-Muslim heritage.

Shortly after his victory we met at city hall.


KHAN: And the point I made in my acceptance speech was, you know, London has chosen hope over fear. I'm really proud that London chose unity over division.


AMANPOUR: But almost immediately Mayor Khan became embroiled in the extraordinary and unprecedented Twitter presidential campaign across the Atlantic. Candidate Donald Trump have said he wanted to ban all Muslims from the United States.

But with Khan's victory Trump said there could be exceptions to this rule but the mayor wasn't having it.


KHAN: I'm not exceptional. So for Donald Trump some say Mayor Khan can be allowed but not the rest is ridiculous.


AMANPOUR: In the year since his election Sadiq khan has faced even more daunting trials in rapid succession. For instance, London voted to remain in the E.U. referendum and the mayor has been working hard to hold on to its reputation as capital city of the world in a post- Brexit life.

He declared London the engine of the U.K. economies open for business, and then there's been the terrorism. In March this year a man drove a vehicle into pedestrians walking across Westminster Bridge, killing five before driving on to parliament, leaping out and knifing a policeman to death before police shot him dead.

For some reason, Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted, "You have got to be kidding me, terror attacks, a part of living in big cities, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan." The mayor had been misquoted and he refused to engage.


KHAN: Well, I'm not going to respond to a tweet from Donald Trump, Jr. been doing far more important things over the last 24 hours.


AMANPOUR: And then the terrorist struck London again, another horrifying attack on London Bridge that killed eight when a vehicle again rammed the sidewalk. And then three attackers ran into the famous Borough market filled with people enjoying dinner and drinks on a Saturday night.

They slashed and swiped their way through with knives and machetes, wounding dozens of people before police shot them all dead. Again, the mayor had to mobilize London's resources and emergency services, comfort the wounded, mourn the dead, and hold another vigil.

And another interview explaining that more security would now be deployed on the capital streets. But in an early morning tweet from the White House, President Trump launched this missile at Khan. Quote, "At least seven dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and mayor of London says there is no reason to be alarmed!"

Of course, Khan had not said that. He said not to be alarmed by the added security, and his office said that he had more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remark.

London rallied and less than two weeks later, Borough Market was open again, rung in by the traditional bells. But who could have imagined this twist of fate? Just hours earlier before dawn, the worst fire in recent British history broke out in the west London Noting Hill area, a towering inferno that made hundreds of low income families destitute, homeless.

More than a dozen have been officially declared dead but there are so many missing that the death toll from this charred building will rise dramatically. Dozens of people were wounded and, again, the mayor, this time with his fire chief, on the scene of yet another disaster.


KHAN: My thoughts and prayers, as I'm sure the thoughts and prayers of the entire country, are with the family and friends of those in the building and affected by this tragic and horrific fire. Also pay tribute to the amazing emergency services.


AMANPOUR: As this city, this country has been buffeted by unprecedented waves of disaster and violence, this son of a Pakistani bus driver has been a picture of calm strength, of compassion and resolve. He has been the mayor for all seasons.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.

HOWELL: After being detained in North Korea for 17 months, Otto Warmbier is lying in a coma in a U.S. hospital. What doctors say about his condition and how it differs from what North Korea says.

[03:40:08] Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It destroyed our homes and dug tunnels in them. Everything was ruined. Raqqa is destroyed.


HOWELL: A Syrian city devastated by ISIS. We will hear from the people of Raqqa forced to run for their lives. Stay with us.


HOWELL: The American college student brought home from North Korea earlier this week has extensive brain damage. University of Cincinnati doctors say Otto Warmbier has a condition known as unresponsive wakefulness. That essentially means he can blink but shows no signs of understanding language.

Warmbier is 22. He can't talk either. He was held in North Korea for 17 months after being found guilty of committing a quote, "hostile act against the country." Doctors say they have no information about the care that Otto Warmbier received in North Korea and his family is rejecting that country's explanation of how he was injured.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has more.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: A very difficult time for the Warmbier family in Ohio. The doctors here at University of Cincinnati Medical Center saying that they did a full body scan of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old. They looked at both his bone structure and the soft tissue and found no indication of any sort of trauma that would lead to the state that he is in now, essentially saying that the oxygen to his brain was cut off for a long enough period to do serious brain damage.

Fred Warmbier had spoken earlier at a press conference, a very emotional press conference. Hard to watch a father speak about his son who he didn't know what had happened to him, and then when he did, to find out he's in a coma and then when he finally gets his arms around him and eyes on him, he discovers his son can't respond to anything he says.

Mr. Warmbier wore the jacket that his son wore the last time that anyone saw him in good shape. He was forced seemingly forced to make a statement in North Korea wearing a white jacket. His father wore that jacket and said this about him.


FRED WARMBIER, OTTO WARMBIER'S FATHER: I'm able to wear the jacket that he wore when he gave his confession. I'm not confessing. I'm speaking, but, Otto, I love you and I'm so crazy about you and I'm so glad you're home. You are such a great guy.


MARQUEZ: His father also upset about the tour company, Young Pioneer Tours, based in China. He says that they basically lured his son on to that tour in order to be taken hostage by the North Koreans. He did says that he and his wife okayed his son to go on that tour. He reserved most of his anger for the North Korean government.

[03:45:00] He also blames the Obama administration, saying they didn't do enough to get their son out. He thanked President Trump and the secretary of state for bringing their son home.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Cincinnati, Ohio.

HOWELL: With so very little known about what happened to Otto Warmbier, we spoke with another American released from North Korean custody Euna Lee and her colleague Laura Ling were arrested in 2009 and held for 140 days. The journalists were charged with entering North Korea illegally to conduct a smear campaign.


EUNA LEE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: The most difficult part of being captive in North Korea was I was all by myself. There was no human interaction beside when I was being interrogated. So that was very hard. I felt my days, they seem like longer than a week. The time goes by very slow there.

You have no access to information or no one comes to talk to you. I'm very thankful that there was no physical violence during the interrogation, but, as I said, it was like psychological battle every day.


HOWELL: They were freed after the former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a private trip to Pyongyang. North Korea claimed he, quote, "expressed sincere words of apology."

There's some hope that the Syrian city of Raqqa will soon be liberated from ISIS. Coalition forces have surrounded most of the area and air strikes are targeting the last remaining militants, but the deadly bombings and fightings have forced thousands of people, many civilians, to run for their lives.

CNN's Cyril Vanier has a closer look for us.

CYRIL VANIER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: These are some of the ones who got out. Hundreds of people arrive at this refugee camp, daily survivors of the battle for Raqqa just 60 kilometers to the south where U.S.- backed militias are trying to push ISIS from its Syrian headquarters.

For weeks now civilians caught in the crossfire have ended up here. More than 10,000 of them in total, where basics like a tent and some food are a small relief from the death and destruction they left behind.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): we fled because of air strikes and there were ISIS bases near to our homes. What we want is to safely go back to our homes and find them intact. That is all.


VANIER: But much of Raqqa is already destroy. Those who have escaped say it's under constant bombardment and power and water are scarce.

For all of the dangers inside, the journey out is just as treacherous. Human rights groups say air strikes have killed many civilians. And ISIS fighters are shooting anyone trying to leave.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They left us with nothing. We were hungry, we had nothing left. They destroyed our homes and dug tunnels in them. Everything was ruined. Raqqa is destroyed.


VANIER: The coalition estimates that ISIS has 3,000 to 4,000 fighters left in the city who had years to fortify their positions. Though they're now surrounded by forces on three sides, it's unclear how long the battle for Raqqa will last. Many say that depends on whether or not ISIS will fight to the death for their so-called caliphate or regroup elsewhere.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's fierce resistance. ISIS fighters are escaping through tunnels and they disguise themselves in clothes similar to ours or our fellow fighters. They hide among us but the forces are out smarting them and gaining control over the situation.


VANIER: Not so very far from the battlefield, those who once called Raqqa home worry about what will happen next, and they wonder if and when they can return.

Cyril Vanier, CNN.

HOWELL: In the United States a wave of arrests has an Iraqi community outraged. Almost 200 Iraqi nationals have been detained since May, this amid a crackdown on immigration.

Our Kyung Lah reports some of those detained are Christian and their families fear a return to Iraq could be a death sentence.

KYUNG LAH, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: A daughter screaming for her father. He's just been detained by immigration and custom enforcement among nearly 200 here targeted for deportation since May.

But the difference with some of these detainees, say families who wave to their loved ones from behind a gate, is a country they fear they will be sent to, Iraq. A war zone where ISIS terrorists civilians, executing all of those who resist, people like Najah Konjah (Ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody here like me are scared to death.


LAH: He is on the phone calling his brother from an ICE facility in Youngstown, Ohio.


[03:49:59] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don't send to Iraq because you are sending us to our death.


LAH: He is terrified because he is a Christian. In Iraq they're an ethnic minority known as Chaldeans. ISIS has targeted the Chaldeans, marking their homes with this red Arabic letter proclaiming them a target, undergoing what human rights leaders call a genocide.

Konjah (Ph) He immigrated to U.S. from Iraq with his parents when he was 15, four decades ago. At age 21 he was convicted of drug conspiracy charges and served time in prison. Since his release, he has opened this business, paid taxes and hasn't been in trouble, not even a single traffic ticket says his brother.

The federal government just two days before this ICE sweep agreed to reopen Konjah's (Ph) his case to obtain a green card, due to the possibility he would be tortured in Iraq.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this United States? Is this what this country is about?

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAH: Most painful for him, like many other Christian Iraqis he knows in Michigan, he voted for Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought they were picking up hard core criminals, we saw they're not going to take the innocent people or the hard people who turned their life around.


LAH: ISIS contention is these are not innocent people. In a statement to CN ICE spokeswoman says that the people who were arrested they all have serious or multiple felony convictions.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

We will soon know the President Donald Trump's vision for the United States with Cuba. He is set to make an announcement in the coming hours outlining changes to the U.S. policy with Cuba.

Mr. Trump campaigned on ending Obama era efforts to improve ties with Havana, but it's still unclear what those changes will be. White House officials say that the U.S. embassy in Cuba will remain open and there won't be any immediate impact on travel or business to the island.

In the meantime, some businesswomen in Cuba are asking for help from President Trump's daughter Ivanka. A group of them wrote her an open letter asking her to convince her father to maintain open relations between Cuba and the U.S. One entrepreneur described how the changes have helped her business.


GABRIELA OGANDO, CUBAN ENTREPRENEUR (through translator): I think that since Obama installed these new measures relations with Cuba opened in some ways. This has helped my business to grow exponential because the majority of my clients are from North America.


HOWELL: According to Reuters the women have invited Ivanka Trump to Cuba to see the improvements firsthand.

Improving ties with Cuba was one of former President Barack Obama's signature policy initiatives. He declared the Cold War over with the communist-run island, but U.S. President Donald Trump has promised a tougher line on Havana, setting the stage now for a new standoff.

CNN's Patrick Oppman with more on that story.

PATRICK OPPMAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: When Barack Obama traveled to Cuba in 2016, the first sitting U.S. President to do so in nearly 90 years, he promised to end the long history of antagonisms between the United States and its communist run neighbor.


[03:54:55] BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In a world that remade itself time and again, one constant was the conflict between the United States and Cuba. I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas.



OPPMAN: With Obama's policy of engagement with Cuba to the first time since Fidel Castro's revolution, full diplomatic relations were restored.

U.S. Airlines resumed direct flights to the island. Tech companies like Google struck deals with the Cuban government to improve internet access. Americans traveling to Cuba were allowed to buy unlimited quantities of the island's famed run and cigars, and more U.S. visitors are coming to Cuba since the 1950s, giving a hand to the emerging class of Cubans opening businesses that cater to tourists.


COLLIN LAVERTY, PRESIDENT, CUBA EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL: If you look at activity in the private sector in Cuba which now has about a half a million people working at restaurants, AirBnb's, riding taxis, hair salons, et cetera, and these people are benefitting greatly not only from Americans spending money but sharing their ideas with them.


OPPMAN: But critics of the Obama Cuba policy said the Cuban government still represses internal dissent and refuses to let any political party exist other than the ruling communist party. President Trump promised to undo the new policy if Havana doesn't improve its record on human rights.


TRUMP: All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order which means the next president can reverse them.


OPPMAN: At the beginning of the Trump administration, Cuban president Raul Castro said he hoped to continue improving ties with the U.S. But as Trump has criticized the Cuban government, the rhetoric is again heating up.

In May, Cuban state newscaster said Trump's statements on Cuba were, quote, "ridiculous and ill-advised," signs that the U.S.-Cuba relationship may soon be about to hit a rough patch.

Patrick Oppman, CNN, Havana.

HOWELL: Patrick, thank you. We end the show with a question. What could you buy for $664,000? In Hong Kong that hefty price tag gets you a top-of-the-line parking spot. That's what one stock executive paid at a luxury apartment building.

Reuters reports it is the most expensive parking spot for a residential building in the city. My goodness.

Thanks for being with us. I'm George Howell. The news continues with my colleague Max Foster in London. You are watching CNN.