Return to Transcripts main page


Police Investigating Attacks in London and Paris; American Dies after Returning from North Korea in Coma; War in Syria; Administration Reacts to London Attack; White House Increasingly Gives Non-Answers; Questions about Flynn's Previously Undisclosed Russia Trip; Questions Raises Over Deadly Destroyer Collision; Theresa May Faces Pressure over Brexit, Terrorism, Other Issues; U.K. Mourns Dead, Missing in London Tower Fire; Group: Ban Sales of Smartphones to Children Under 13. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 20, 2017 - 02:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Ahead this hour, different cities, different targets but both attacks driven by hate, the latest from London and Paris.

VAUSE (voice-over): Escalating tensions in the skies over Syria, tough talk from Russia a day after the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane.

WALKER (voice-over): And the American college student who fell into a coma in North Korean custody has died. One prominent American lawmaker says Otto Warmbier was murdered.

VAUSE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE). Thank you for staying with us. I'm John Vause.

WALKER (voice-over): And I'm Amara Walker. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.


WALKER: Two of Europe's biggest cities, two attacks and now two ongoing investigations taking place in London and Paris. French authorities say a car deliberately slammed into a police van on the Champs-Elysees Monday. The car was filled with weapons and explosives.

VAUSE: Police pulled the driver from the car after it caught fire and he later died. No one else was hurt. The man was reportedly on a French terror watchlist and was known to security services.

WALKER: Hours earlier in London a man drove a van into a crowd of people leaving a mosque after Ramadan prayers. VAUSE: The mosque leaders and other worshipers tackled him to the

ground. He's now in custody, suspected of attempted murder and acts of terror. British reports say he is 47 years old and he is from Wales.

Ian Lee joins us live from London with more on this.

So, Ian, what more do we know about this 47-year-old man from Wales and possibly his motivation here?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, his name is Darren Osborn. He's from Cardiff, Wales. We know that he rented that van that he used to carry out the attack just here behind me. The things that his family has said about him, they way they describe him is that he is troubled but they didn't see this coming.

This isn't something that they would expect him to do. His neighbors say that this is someone who would help if they needed it and just the other day he was singing to his four children.

So you're not really seeing this picture of this man that would carry something like this out. But you're getting an outpouring of support for the local community here. You have the flowers, people from all over the community.

This one says, "With love from a Jew to the Muslims," this attack targeting Muslims. You also have the Sikh community last night, when I was here we had members of the Jewish community that were just there to show their support but also say if anyone needed anything.

So this attack really has devastated this community but we are seeing this solidarity but we're also seeing anger from people saying that the police just didn't do enough to protect those worshipers who were coming from the mosque, that just at the corner, following prayer, which is a special prayer that they do during Ramadan -- John.

VAUSE: Ian, we've been reporting one person died at the scene just outside the mosque. But we've also been saying it's not entirely clear if that death was a direct result of the attack.

So clear up -- what's the confusion here?

LEE: Yes, we'll go through the series of events here. So they came out of the mosque after prayer and an elderly man had collapsed just behind me, just down this road. And people had gathered to help him. And that's when the van hit the group of people.

So it's unsure if that elderly man, he died from the attack or he died from a pre-existing condition. That's where there's that the confusion about whether he was killed in the attack or if he wasn't.

You also had 10 people injured there and they were able to get the driver -- they were able to pull him out and grab him, hold him until authorities were able to get there.

And there were a lot of -- there was a lot of tensions, as you would expect, when someone runs over your friends, your family. But the imam of the mosque really came out as hero, calming people down until authorities could arrive and take him into custody.

VAUSE: Yes, that's a crucial moment there by the leader of the mosque, the imam, many people pressing his actions. Ian Lee, live this hour for us with the very latest.


VAUSE: Joining us now, former FBI special agent Bobby Chacon and Edina Lekovic. She's the communication director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Thank you for both coming in.

Bobby, it seems almost every time there is a terror attack which has been carried out by a Muslim that person is either known to authorities or he's on some kind of watchlist, like the case in Paris, who targeted police.

He was flagged because he had links to extremism for example. But yet what we're seeing in London, the attack on Muslims, this guy came as a total surprise. No one seems to know anything about him.

So how do you explain that?

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think there's a -- some of the attacks you referred to are part of an organized campaign that is being funded or at least directed from overseas, either through the Internet or in person.

I think an attack like we saw in London, this most recent attack, I think, is a -- is a -- could be -- and we will find out very soon -- a crazed individual, a deranged person that wants to -- some sense of -- some deranged sense of revenge or something like that.

So I think that the investigation, I think, we'll get to know more about this guy, whether he was a one-off, whether he was totally isolated or hopefully not, where he had some of the connections to some of the groups that will carry out things like this.

WALKER: Edina, there was some anger and criticism leveled at authorities, especially from some residents in Finbury Park for not labeling this attack pretty quickly as a terrorist incident. I think it took about eight hours before that was announced.

Do you think there is a double standard when it comes to labeling a terror attack with a white male perpetrator, a white perpetrator versus a Muslim attacker?

EDINA LEKOVIC, COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: There is certainly an inconsistency. Look, tonight, our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones and their families and their loved ones are worth no less than those who were killed on the London Bridge or in the marketplace. And that's part of where this double standard really shortchanges the

Londoners, the average people who face the brunt of any kind of terrorism that exists out there.

And when we have a blind eye or a blind spot when it comes to certain forms of terrorism, certain violent extremists that are out there and we put our attention excessively in one area, we can miss individuals like this,

And I think that it is problematic that we consider individuals like this to be a lone world or to be deranged when the person who carried out the London Bridge attack or any of these other attacks, those people were also deranged, regardless of what their motivations are.

Violence is violence and so I think that Prime Minister May and Mayor Sadiq Khan's statements were the right ones to make in that they promoted the idea that London is a city that will keep calm and carry on and it will continue to value its diversity.

VAUSE: The response has been crucial because one of the things big concerns of course is that this spikes some kind of cycle of violence between Muslims and non-Muslims, which is exactly what ISIS wants.

Two years ago, they were openly hoping for this. They put out a manifesto. This is part of what it reads.

"When Muslims and mosques will be attacked by neo-Nazis in protest, Muslims will do a counter-protest alongside with antifascist groups. A war will happen between Muslims and their neo-Nazi enemies. People in between will be caught in crossfire and will have to pick sides."

Again, we don't know if the attacker here was a neo-Nazi. But of course, Edina, what needs to be done to make sure we don't get to that point?

LEKOVIC: Well, we need a greater understanding on the ground and we need to be able to look at these problems directly and call them out for what they are. Here in our own country we also have concerns about the rise of the alt-right and certain violent voices that are out there.

We just saw the killing of a teenager last night in Virginia, who was also leaving a mosque. And that's the sad reality here. There people who've committed no crime here, especially during the month of Ramadan, when -- which is the time -- you know, it's like getting killed on Christmas or on Yom Kippur, one of the highest holidays.

They were just trying to go to IHOP to eat at night.

What teenager can't relate to that story?

And that's also true for the residents of London tonight and from this mosque community, who now face an even -- even more heightened level of fear.

They were over 120 Islamophobic events that took place in the week after the London Bridge attack, according to the police in London. And so there is a -- there's an environment out there that we certainly have to be fearful of.

And so coming together and having unity is the best middle finger that we can give to ISIS and other groups out there.

WALKER: And people obviously concerned about their safety, Bobby. And Theresa May in the previous London terror attack, was talking about, look, enough is enough. We're going to have to start expanding these anti-terror laws.

But there is also concern within the Muslim community that tolerance might be fraying, that they might be profiled.

What can be done to have that balance of protecting the people but also making sure that people in the Muslim community don't feel like they're being profiled?

CHACON: That's a very old question and a tough question. But I think that we have to be very careful --


CHACON: -- when we label things and the way we move forward. The fire in Virginia last night, there is no evidence yet that we know that that was a terrorist --


VAUSE: -- hate crime --

CHACON: -- right and there's all indications that it was some kind of road rage incident. That's yet to be seen. So we need to let these things play out. We need to see what they really are. We can't just jump to label things for the sense of labeling so we can come up with a number and say this number of things happened.

We have to -- you know, calmness and levelheadedness have to prevail. And for somebody like me, as investigator, they always ask me, was it too slow to be labeled a terrorist incident or not?

It didn't matter for the investigator. We investigate the same way whether it's a terrorist -- whatever we -- the crime happens and we investigate it. But you know, it's for the bureaucrats to determine whether or not and how long it's going to take.

As far as profiling, you know, that's going to be -- local law enforcement has to decide when they're going to step up their surveillance of countergroups, of white supremacists or alt-right, as it's now known, of these groups.

We already monitor them very well here in the country. But like we've had the conversation before, until they take an act, a lot of times these people have never committed a crime.

VAUSE: Just very quickly, because often we talk about in this situation, why didn't someone from the Muslim community know what was going on and say something before it happened, could the same be said in this situation?

Why didn't anybody speak up knowing that this individual was of this mindset and may have been planning (INAUDIBLE) -- why didn't somebody speak up?

CHACON: Right and that's what the investigation is going to turn up. We have to see what his social media was, what groups he belonged to, like we saw in the Virginia shooter of the congressman, clearly this guy had violent intentions to carry out against (INAUDIBLE).

But when can you step in and take some action against that person?

As a law enforcement or a prosecutor, when can you do that?

That's what Theresa May was talking about, moving that line. That's a very dangerous conversation to have.

VAUSE: Bobby and Edina, thank you so much.

LEKOVIC: Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you to both.

CHACON: Thanks.

VAUSE: Well, the U.S. says North Korea should be held accountable for the death of the young American held prisoner for more than a year.

Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier died Monday, less than a week after Pyongyang returned him to the United States in a coma.

WALKER: And now his parents are blasting the torturous mistreatment of their son by Kim Jong-un's regime. CNN's Miguel Marquez reports.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back on American soil, incapacitated after 17 months in a North Korean prison. His father's first words to his son.


I knelt down by his side and I hugged him and I told him I missed him and I was so glad that he made it home.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): But the 22-year old was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness, not quite a full coma but damage throughout his brain rendering him able to blink and at times move but there was nothing left of the adventurous young man that had departed nearly two years earlier.

FRED WARMBIER: 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 (voice-over): The North Korean government claimed Warmbier

just over a year ago contracted botulism, took a sleeping pill and fell into what they called a coma. A North Korean MRI appeared to confirm the damage to his brain occurred around March or April 2016, shortly after his conviction.

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati found no indication of botulism or physical trauma that could have caused the injury.

DANIEL KANTER, UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI NEUROSCIENCE INSTITUTE: Among the battery of tests we performed we examined all the long bones of the body, a skeletal survey. In those scans, we see no evidence of an acute or healing fracture, including the skull.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): A statement by the Warmbier family read, in part, "Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today."

The last time Fred Warmbier saw his son in good health, 17 months ago, giving this emotional and likely forced statement in North Korea, admitting his guilt.

He was accused and tried for hostile acts after the North Korean government claimed he took down a propaganda poster in the hotel where he was staying on the night before he was to depart the country.

This video provided to CNN by the Warmbier family shows Otto in North Korea with his tour group, no indication of any hostile acts toward North Korea, just a the young man experiencing the world.

MARQUEZ: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. holds North Korea responsible for Otto Warmbier's unjust imprisonment and the tour company that took Mr. Warmbier to North Korea says it will no longer accept Americans -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.

WALKER: Such a sad, sad story. CNN's Paula Hancocks joining us now from Seoul, South Korea.

And, Paula, we're getting a lot of reaction --


WALKER: -- one from Kenneth Bae, a man who know very well what it's like to be held captive by Pyongyang.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Yes, this is a former detainee as you say, Amara. Kenneth Bae was held for two years, released back in 2014.

His public statement says that -- talking of Otto Warmbier -- "He was a college student on a journey to see the world. For North Korea to detain him and sentence to 15 years in prison was an injustice.

"But for Otto to be returned to the U.S. in the state he was in and then for him to die because of it is not only an outrage but it is a tragedy for his entire family."

And as you say, there have been a number of reactions from around the world, some angry reactions from the United States. One U.S. senator, John McCain, saying that we should put it clearly that Otto Warmbier was murdered, an American citizen murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime.

So certainly this does raise the bar when it comes to the other detainees in North Korea as well, three Americans still being held there. We know the U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is trying to work to have them released, saying just last week that it is a very delicate situation -- Amara.

WALKER: And more reaction I want to play President Donald Trump reacting to the death of Otto Warmbier as well. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I just wanted to pass on word that Otto Warmbier has just passed away. He spent a year and a half in North Korea. Bad things happened. But at least we got him home to be with his parents. And we're so happy to see him, even though he was in a very tough condition. But he just passed away a little while ago.

It's a brutal regime and we'll be able to handle it.


WALKER: There is a lot of pressure on the White House, on the Trump administration and on how it will respond to the death of Otto Warmbier.

Will it retaliate?

There will be a meeting, an annual meeting between Chinese officials and American officials in Washington in the coming hours.

What do we expect from that?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly this is an annual meeting that was preplanned but it is inevitable that this issue of Otto Warmbier is going to be playing on many minds as they're discussing the U.S.-China trade and economic and political relations.

So certainly there is a feeling among some within the United States that a more hardline stance should be taken towards North Korea. Now there's criticism here in South Korea, as well as you can imagine of calls of a brutal regime.

And North Korea president Moon Jae-in himself as well also saying that he expressed condolences toward what had happened and questioned whether North Korea had done everything that it could've done in this situation.

So there does appear to be hardening towards North Korea. President Moon Jae-in, of course, is pro dialogue. He's pro-engagement with the North. But when something like this happens, it does take -- it does make people's sit back and take stock of the situation.

And, of course, with so many detainees still in North Korea, three Americans and considerable so six South Koreans, according to the intelligence agency here since 2013 and well over 500 since the Korean War, we're hearing from officials, it is something that is going to play heavily on minds likely when it comes to this meeting in Washington.

WALKER: Yes. And obviously the death of Otto Warmbier coming as a shock to a lot of people, considering I think it's been decades when the last time something like this happened, an American detainee dying as a result of being in North Korean custody.

Paula Hancocks, (INAUDIBLE) from Seoul, thank you very much.

VAUSE: And Otto Warmbier delivered a touching speech at his high school graduation in 2013. He bid farewell to his classmates and also talked about the future. Listen to this.


OTTO WARMBIER, AMERICAN STUDENT: As we prepare to leave Wyoming (ph) High School, it feels like saying goodbye to a close friend. In a literal sense it is. Many of us will move far away and not come back for a long time.

But there is also a different kind of goodbye, a farewell to something larger than just a friend. This is our last day together as Wyoming High School's class of 2013.

Tomorrow morning, we will all belong to another class, another job or another city. No matter where we go and what we do, though, we will always have this group here.

Even when Wyoming class of 2013 is a thing of the past we'll have the support of all of these people around us. We'll have the knowledge we gained as a group and we'll have (INAUDIBLE). The (INAUDIBLE) we've created to be played over --


OTTO WARMBIER: -- and over again. Thank you.



WALKER: And by many accounts, by his friends' accounts, Otto Warmbier was very well-liked and a very good student. He was a college student. Otto Warmbier, dead at the age of 22. We'll be right back.


WALKER: Russia has a stunning warning for the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Syria "We may treat your aircraft as targets." VAUSE: Tensions had escalated after a U.S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane. We get details now from Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. pilots flying over Syria now on the lookout for Russian airplanes or missile threats following the weekend shootdown by a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet of a Syrian warplane.

This because the Kremlin threatened that any U.S. warplane operating in certain areas of Syria would be considered a threat. When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was asked if he was confident that Russia would not shoot down a U.S. warplane, the answer was carefully worded.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I'm confident that we are still communicating between our operations center and the Russian Federation operations center and I'm also confident that our forces of the capability to take care of themselves.

STARR (voice-over): Defense Secretary James Mattis taking the threat seriously, his spokesperson issuing a statement.

"As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian regime and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to reposition aircraft over Syria."

The Pentagon won't offer details but the goal is clear, get U.S.- backed ground forces to push ISIS out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're sending warnings to the Syrians, to the Iranians and to the Russians this offensive must be the top priority and then cannot be hindered.

STARR (voice-over): When the Syrian warplane attacked those U.S.- backed forces on the ground, the U.S. reacted. It began Sunday at 4:30 pm. Pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the U.S.-backed fighters near the city of Tabqa, a key area on the way to Raqqah, the ISIS capital.

Driving them from their fighting positions, U.S. aircraft flew in, launching flares to scare off the pro-Assad unit. The U.S. also contacted the Russians to try to stop the fighting.

At 6:43 pm, a Syrian Su-22 dropped bombs near the U.S.-backed fighters; it was immediately shot down, the coalition said, by that U.S. Navy aircraft as a matter of self-defense.

STARR: A full court press is now on by the Pentagon to try and keep talking to the Russians to make sure none of this escalates out of control -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WALKER: All right. Let's get reaction from Moscow now with CNN contributor Jill Dougherty.

Jill, always --


WALKER: -- great to see you. I want to first go through these threats from Moscow, the first one being Moscow threatening to target and follow U.S. aircraft and also all flying aircraft detected west of the Euphrates.

How do you take these threats?

What does Russia mean by that because it stopped short of saying that it would shoot down U.S. aircraft.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It did. Again, you have to look at this very carefully in terms of how it was said because what they're saying is they will track anything essentially in the air that comes west of the Euphrates and consider it a target.

But you're right. They didn't go so far as to say we'll actually shoot it down. They didn't say exactly what they would do. And so it's an implicit, it's a direct but also implicit threat.

And I think what's happening now is the U.S. is trying to assess, is this more rhetoric or reality?

And that part is concerning and then you also have this -- the Russians saying that they will suspend that deconfliction hotline with the United States, which as we know is set up to avoid collisions by forces on either side, in the air over Syria. It's very important.

But don't forget the Russians have said that they would do that before. They did it back in April and then they kind of restored it. So there may be a certain amount of posturing.

And all of this, I think it's important to point out, all of this is going on in the context of Raqqah, the capital of self-contained headquarters of ISIS. ISIS is in very bad shape. And so the parties that are all involved, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Russians, et cetera, all of them are maneuvering now for power, for land in -- for potentially getting ready for this post-ISIS situation in Syria.

So it's diplomatically important but at the same time you have planes, as you just saw from Barbara, flying around with the possibility of something very serious happening. So most people here in Russia, there is a certain amount of posturing and anger over the United States and the actions it's been taking in Syria.

But on the other hand sober voices are saying we have to sit down, begin to try to, at least diplomatically or in talks, begin to define who is doing what and where because this is going very fast.

WALKER: Yes, it's obviously not in anyone's interest, the U.S. or Russia's assets, to end this deconfliction hotline that helps avoid collisions in Syrian airspace. But you were talking about, you know, the post-ISIS, what happens after. And you have both Syrian forces backed by Iran, backed by Russia and U.S. backsliders, who are closing in on Raqqah. And the question of course is what happens when these two sides collide on the battlefield?

DOUGHERTY: Well, that, of course, would be the immediate question of what happens. But I think in the backs of the minds of everyone, at least the major powers here, it's what happens when eventually this area gets defined. If ISIS is pushed out, it's not the end ISIS around the world but it could be the end of ISIS in that area.

If, let's say Assad controls more land, he has more of an argument to say, I'm in charge of this country. Look at the land that I control. And the Russians have a very long game in the Middle East. They want to project their power, often at the expense of the United States, in the Middle East. And Iran certainly has its interest of creating routes from Iran to the West.

So a lot of them are playing the long game at the same time that they're playing this short game, which, unfortunately, is not very short because a lot of people are dying and it's, again the danger of confliction among the parties right in the air in Syria.

WALKER: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. Jill Dougherty, appreciate you. Thank you very much.

VAUSE: And we will take a short break. When we come back, U.S. lawmakers are digging deeper into the former national security adviser's business dealings abroad. Questions about Michael Flynn's trip to the Middle East.


[02:31:58] AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Amara Walker.


We'll check the headlines now.


VAUSE: The man who ran a van into a crowd of people near a mosque in London has reportedly been identified as a 47-year-old from Wales. He's being held on suspicion of attempted murder and terrorist acts. One man died at the scene. Still unclear that was a direct result of the attack. Nine others have been treated in hospital.

WALKER: Now to U.S. politics. And joining us, Ethan Bearman, a talk radio host here in California.

VAUSE: Also CNN political commentator and Republican consultant, John Thomas.

We did hear from the U.S. State Department with regards to the attack in London, extending sympathies to the victims, but we have not heard directly from the president of the United States. His daughter, Ivanka, did send out this tweet, "Sending love and prayers to the victims in Finsbury Park, London. We must stand united against hatred and extremism in all its ugly forms.

But, John, Ivanka is not the president, at least not yet. Silence from her father follows a pattern when it comes to violence carried out against Muslims.

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's funny he can't win either way. When he weighs in on something in the U.K. it's what is he doing picking a fight with the mayor, or what is he doing weighing in on things that he shouldn't be weighing in on. Now that he remains silent via tweets, even though his administration has already spoke through the State Department, he somehow that guy. Look, it would be nice if did tweet but he's probably been busy today, but the government did weigh.

WALKER: Ethan, what are your thoughts --


WALKER: -- because I was looking at the Twitter feed and Trump tweeted just once on Monday and it was about the Georgia special election, bashing Democrats, et cetera. But again, no tweet on the London attacks. And no tweets even when the U.S. Navy announced that seven bodies were found after this accident. What are your thoughts?

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RADIO SHOW HOST: John kind of made my point, which is this, here he is busy tweeting out things, getting into fights with the mayor of London, talking about the Georgia election, not recognizing our seven sailors who sadly died, not recognizing that there was a terror attack. And I would even suggest that it's intentional on his part because it was targeted at Muslims. I mean, this is a part of a pattern of his anti-Muslim bias.

THOMAS: The State Department that works for him did weigh in.

VAUSE: More silence from the White House on just about everything. On Monday, there was no on-camera White House briefing, not even allowed to have an audio recording. Many reporters were left fuming. These briefings are getting shorter and less frequent. Sean Spicer continually comes up with a string of non-answers.

Here's a sample.


[02:35:18] SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president's tweets stand for themselves. I'm going to say I'm going to let the tweet speak for itself.

The president's tweets speak for themselves.

I think that his comments and his tweets speak for themselves with respect to how he feels and why. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: John, this is a president who has not held a news conference for a long time. And this seems to be, on the surface, another way of trying to keep reporters at arm's length and away from answering questions.

THOMAS: Two things. First, Spicer has been consistent in his message on Trump's tweets so pulling multiple clips -- message discipline.

The other is, remember, Sean Spicer today announced he's not going to be doing the briefings anymore, so they're reworking the Coms Department. I think if this process continues two or three weeks from now, then we should start barking. Until then, let them get it sorted out.

WALKER: Is this media blackout acceptable, Ethan?

BEARMAN: Absolutely, not. It's just like the Senate Republicans, how can we argue things, because somebody might question me, therefore, if I don't have a press conference, I don't have to answer a difficult question/

VAUSE: There are some difficult questions out there for the former national security adviser Michael, Flynn. He is back in the spotlight. In particular, Democrats want more information about the unreported trip he made to the Middle East. Senior House Democrats have written to Flynn's lawyer. Part of their letter is focusing on a business venture. And the letter from the Democrats to Flynn's lawyer quotes this article from "News Week." Here's part of it, "The genious idea developed by Flynn and co. was a U.S./Russian partnership to build and operate plants to transport dangerous spent fuel under strict controls. In promoting this consortium, Mr. Thompson" -- that's Alex Thompson -- "as head of the ACU" -- one of the strategic partners, one of the lead companies involved -- "reportedly touted connections to General Flynn and then-Senator Jeff Sessions who served as the Trump campaign's top foreign policy advisor."

John, again, Russia, Flynn, Sessions. These guys are like Larry, Curly and Mo. They all keep coming up together.


THOMAS: First, Sessions is a long-time Senator. He has his job and meets a lot of people, so the fact that your name dropping, we hear that in politics all the time: I know so-and-so congressman. It doesn't mean they'll get action from Senator Sessions at the time. Flynn also, he's not a good actor. This isn't anything new but there's lots of smoke but there's no fire. I just feel like we're getting worked up about nothing.

WALKER: Lots of smoke but no fire. How significant or insignificant is this, Ethan, when you have the Flynn compounding his legal troubles now if he did, indeed, mislead officials in filling out the security form. BEARMAN: I think Flynn is in a world of trouble, and we'll find out exactly how bad it is. It's interesting that it comes back to Sessions again, then Senator, who really made no connections with foreign powers until he became part of the Trump campaign. We have that data. We have figures that say as much. And then on top of it all today, I don't know if you saw the report in "The Washington Post," but I was speaking to Tom Hammers (ph), one of the when reporters, and there's a whole new connection between Paul Manafort and Ukraine that was never reported that could have some serious ramifications in this whole Russia connection.

VAUSE: John, there is such a web here. If only Donald Trump had listened to Barack Obama when Obama said, hey, don't hire Flynn. That seems to be like the start of a lot of problems, right? It was good advice.

THOMAS: It certainly would. Remember, back in the doldrums of the Trump campaign, I mean, there were not a lot of military advisers with experience that were willing to jump on board.

VAUSE: This is after the election.


THOMAS: That's true. But they had already built a relationship at that point. It's not exactly like the president held Barack Obama in high esteem, so I'm not sure his advice would carry a lot of weight.

VAUSE: Ethan?

BEARMAN: I don't know that President Trump, now-President Trump likes to listen to a lot of people, including his own family members, who he touts as being such great confidants of his. So, you know, this is -- General Flynn played to his ego. We now have a pattern. We know this, that the people that played to President Trump's ego got prime jobs.


Ethan and John, good to see you both. Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you, gentlemen.

VAUSE: The U.S. Navy has identified and released the names of all seven sailors that died in a collision at sea. The youngest of them was just 19.

WALKER: Their body have now been recovered from flooded areas of the U.S. Navy destroyer. The "USS Fitzgerald" and a cargo ship collided Saturday off the coast of Japan.

Our Tom Foreman has more.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The massive merchant ship made a sharp turn around the time of the fatal collusion with the American warship, according to a maritime tracking system. It's not clear what, if anything, that had to do with the accident. We do know the crash was catastrophic.

VICE ADM. JOSEPH AUCOIN, COMMANDER, U.S. SEVENTH FLEET: The damage was significant. This was not a small collision.

[02:40:03] FOREMAN: The merchant ship, the "ACX Crystal," is registered in the Philippines and it was on a relatively short hop from central Japan to Tokyo in the east. You will notice it is about 50 percent larger than the warship over here and, importantly, about three times as heavy, so it did not sustain much damage. But the "Fitzgerald" did not fare nearly as well.

Immediately upon impact, there is a breach in the commander's quarters, which are just below the bridge, a radio room below that, below that another machines space. And importantly, let's go below the water here because then you can see there is a protruding portion on the freighter. And that came forward and rammed the military ship below the water in an area where typically, in the middle of the night, when this crash occurred, there would be dozens of people sleep.

AUCOIN: The water flow was tremendous. So there wasn't a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea. And as you can see now, the ship is still listing. So they had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface. And it was traumatic.

FOREMAN: The ship was a saved but seven crew members could not be. The dreadful news coming back to the states on Father's Day weekend. Xavier Alec Martin, of Maryland, was 24 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very hard. That's all I have.

FOREMAN: Dakota Kyle Rigsby was 19, a fireman back in Virginia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a good guy. Just bottom line. Just a straight-up good guy.

FOREMAN: Also injured, the Fitzgerald's commander, Bryce Benson.

AUCOIN: He was Medevac'd. His cabin was destroyed. He's lucky to be alive. And he's at the hospital right now. He's undergoing treatment.

FOREMAN: Both ships had radar to warn against collisions. The "Fitzgerald" has extremely advanced systems to detect threats or below water. The Navy says watch teams are on duty throughout the night. So the primary question for American, Japanese and Filipino investigators, how did it happen.

(on camera): And there is this. While part of the communication system on the military ship was disabled by the crash, it now appears it may have taken an hour for the civilian ship to report the accident. Investigators are going to want to know if that is true and, if so, why. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


WALKER: The U.K. honors the lives lost in the Grenville Tower fire. Next, why only five victims have been formally identified so far as the death toll rises.



[02:44:57] WALKER: British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing growing pressure as the U.K. begins its Brexit negotiations with the E.U.

VAUSE: All of this comes as the prime minister is dealing with a lot. There's been the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester, and there's also the Grenfell Tower fire.

We get more now from CNN's Nic Robertson.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This morning, our country woke to news of another terrorist attack on the streets of our capital city.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): On this big Brexit day, a terror attack. More pressure piled on the P.M. from the get-go.

MAY: Today, we come together, as we have done before, to condemn this act.

ROBERTSON: As her top negotiator kicked off long-awaited talks in Brussels to get Britain out of the E.U.

UNIDENTIFIED BRITISH SECRETARY: We will do all we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interest of all citizens.

ROBERTSON: May was meeting those affected in an overnights attack on London's Finsbury Park mosque.

MAY: Today's attack falls at a difficult time in the life of the city, following on from the attack on London Bridge two weeks ago and, of course, the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower last week.


ROBERTSON: Pressures on the P.M. have been mounting up. Her rapid outreach today, speedy in contrast to the tower fire tragedy, for which she was heavily criticized. Directly back from the mosque, May greeting the new Irish prime minister, Leo Veradkar, later than anticipated and the meeting shorter, about an hour. Veradkar not happy with May's pick as powerbroker in Parliament, Northern Ireland's DUP.

LEO VARADKAR, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: On the issue of marriage equality, I've had the opportunity to meet with our ambassador to the DUP last week in Dublin and I have expressed my very strong view that marriage equality shall be permitted in Northern Ireland. I can appreciate many in the DUP have a different view on this matter.

ROBERTSON: Pressure on May, too, on Brexit, how it could affect Ireland's $1.3 billion a week business with the U.K.

MAY: We want that comprehensive free-trade agreement which enables us to have a seamless and frictionless border as possible to continue the trade that has been so beneficial to us in the past.

ROBERTSON: Mays hands have rarely been this full. Some in her party still clamoring for her to step down. On this day, a principal rival for leadership in Europe backing her on Brexit.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: In the long run, this will be good for the U.K. and good for Europe. That's all I have to say.

ROBERTSON: Between now and that day, plenty of pressure on whomever is Prime Minister.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


VAUSE: As expected, the death toll from last week's massive apartment building fire in London has gone up. Police now confirming 79 people killed or are missing, presumed dead.

WALKER: Some are questioning whether safety measures were followed at Grenfell Tower. For now, families and friends are left with anger and grief.

Here is our Samuel Burke.



SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A moment of silence across the U.K. to honor the dozens and dozens of people who lost their lives at Grenfell Towers.

At the scene of the inferno, the firefighting team descended from the chard building and stood at order.

Day by day, the death toll increasing, difficult even for officials to announce to the public.

STEWART CUNDY, METROPOLITAN POLICE COMMANDER: I'm afraid to say there are now 79 people that are either dead or missing. I have sadly to presume they're dead. BURKE: Complicating the task of accounting for the dead is the fear entire families may have burned alive together so there's no immediate family member to even report a loved one missing.

And because so many immigrants lived here, dental records must be sent from all around the world.

Some family and friends have only just now mustered up the courage to come to the horrific scene to see it for themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he was a nice guy.

BURKE: And there's increased speculation about the role new siding on the 24-story tower may have played in the fire, even from the highest ranks of the U.K. government.

PHILIP HAMMOND, U.K. CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: My understanding is that the cladding in question, this flammable cladding, which is banned in the U.S. and Europe, is also banned here.

BURKE: With one member of the opposition party labeling it corporate manslaughter, the U.K. government has launched a public inquiry.

CUNDY: I will do everything within my gift to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

BURKE: Even for the people in the area who didn't lose loved ones, the trauma continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm seeing body bags coming out of the tower. There's a tent erected outside my flat. It's a reminder.

[02:50:04] BURKE: And worst may be yet to come in accounting for the loss. Officials fearing the death toll could easily pass 100, a number hard to grasp until you see it personalized in images of those who been confirmed dead, like 65-year-old Anthony Dixon (ph), and look at the faces on the missing posters plastered on every inch of space around the towers.

Samuel Burke, CNN, London.



VAUSE: When the late Steve Jobs was running Apple, he was famous for being a showman. His keynote presentations when he introduced new products were as much a part of the company's success as the products themselves. He painted a picture and shared a vision. Like this moment back in 2010 announcing the iPad.


STEVE JOBS, FORMER CEO, APPLE: Do we have what it takes to establish a third category of products? An awesome product between a laptop and a Smartphone? The bar is pretty high. It's got to be far better at doing some key things, like these. We think we got the goods. We think we've done it. And we are so excited about this product.


VAUSE: But what Steve Jobs didn't say was he wouldn't let his kids use an iPad at home. After that big launch, a "New York Times" reporter asked Jobs, "So your kids must love the iPad," and Jobs replied, "They haven't used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home."

In the book, "Irresistible, the Rise of Addictive Technology," Steve Jobs apparently goes even further talking about the potential for an iPad to actually become addictive.

The issue isn't so much the iPad but rather the unfettered access to the Internet and everything that comes with it, including a deluge of stimuli available at fingertips. A number of recent studies have backed up those concerns, in particular, a warning of the dangers to young children when it comes to the instant gratification of a Smartphone, which these days can pretty much do everything an iPad can.

Now, in Colorado, there is a move to prohibit the sale of Smartphones to children younger than 13. It was started by Dr. Tim Farnum, whose own real-world experience with his kids was the motivation.

And Tim Farnum joins us from Denver.

Doctor Farnum, good to see you.

And, Doctor Farnum, to clarify, you are an anesthesiologist. You're not a child psychiatrist. So this is mostly being driven by your experience as a day?

DR. TIM FARNUM, ANESTHESIOLOGIST & AUTHOR: That is correct, yeah. I'm not trained as a psychologist but I come at this first as a father. As a physician, I really wanted to research the issue. If you look at the body of evidence it shows a tremendous amount of potential for harm, and harm in lot of our children.

VAUSE: But there is recent data showing the average age that children are getting their first Smartphone is falling. It was 12 just a few years ago. Now the average age is 10. And anecdotally, many even younger than that. So it is a problem that many parents just aren't aware of the problems with the Smartphones and kids?

[01:55:49] FARNUM: I think there's a huge awareness problem. People are addicted to their own phones and they don't -- really there's no incentive for the education to be put out there. The corporations are pushing the technology and the apps and the phones. There is no incentive for them to tell them there's any harm, is what I'm trying to say. So we're trying to raise awareness of the issue.

VAUSE: Which brings us to the draft ballot initiative, which you and your supporters are putting out there.

FARNUM: Right. VAUSE: This is part of it, "Initiative 29 prohibits retailers from selling or permitting the sale of a Smartphone to a person under the age of 13 or to any person who indicates that the Smartphone will be wholly or partially owned a person under the age of 13."

At the end of the day, the criticism is that you are trying to shift responsibility away from the parents onto the retailers and the government. What do you say?

FARNUM: I think we're trying to help parents and I think it's good that it's in a state where we can vote on its as individual citizens, so it's not coming from one party or another. So hopefully, it doesn't become politicized. But I think, as parents, were in a trap where every other parent seems to be doing it, maybe absentmindedly, but trying to control your own child is nearly an impossible gauntlet, because there's so much technology out there. And so if we could just get this one piece of legislation on the books then parents would be able have some ability to tell their kids, no, we can't get you that phone until a little bit later. And hopefully, there will be some more carefree youthful years for these children.

VAUSE: If it happens, Colorado will be the first state in the U.S. they also are trying other laws in other countries around the world, too.

So I wish you the best of luck.

FARNUM: Thank you very much for having me.

WALKER: And you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Amara Walker.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause.

NEWSROOM continues with Rosemary Church right after this.


[03:00:05] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Driven by hate. Two attacks in different cities with different targets but both with the same goal. The latest on the assaults in London and Paris.