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Hong Kong Handover Anniversary; U.S.-South Korea Summit; Trump's Twitter Tirade; Crisis in Venezuela; The Month that Shook London. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired July 1, 2017 - 02:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The Chinese president says he will not tolerate challenges to Beijing's authority in Hong Kong.

And Donald Trump versus "Morning Joe," the Twitter war escalates.

Plus, terror attacks, political chaos and a raging fire, the month that London wishes it could forget.

Thank you for joining us, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier from the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta.


VANIER: China's president has a warning for activists in Hong Kong, Xi Jinping said don't challenge Beijing's sovereignty, he was in Hong Kong on Saturday, his first visit there since becoming China's president.

He was marking 20 years since Britain handed the territory over to China and he swore in Hong Kong's first female leader, Carrie Lam, while she called for unity. There was division on the streets.

Police and pro-China demonstrators scuffled with pro-democracy activists. Thousands of marchers are expected to return to the streets in the next few hours for an annual protest march.

Ivan Watson joins us now from Hong Kong.

Ivan, the Chinese president said there's never been as much democracy as there is now in Hong Kong and people have never had as many rights as they do now.

Is he right?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly it is the most democratically free city in all of China. And I will show you why.

This is a Stand for the Democracy Party, it's one of the opposition parties. And this simply would not be allowed on Mainland China, which has one party rule. It's one of the freedoms that you have in Hong Kong, to have different opposition parties.

Over here, we have a band -- and this is from the Falun Gong religious movement, which is also banned on Mainland China.

And so, that is what Xi Jinping is referring to and that is one of the things that some Hong Kongers are very, very proud of, their freedom of speech, their freedom of assembly, their freedom of expression.

And that is something that's celebrated every year here on July 1st in Hong Kong's Victoria Park, when you get people of all different types of political and ethnic and religious persuasions to come out and march and talk about whatever they feel is important to them.

And that simply is not allowed under the authoritarian system on Mainland China.

But Xi Jinping had another message in his speech on the anniversary of handover from Hong Kong to Chinese rule, which the authorities described as a return to the motherland from British colonial rule. They had a warning that there are limits. So take a listen to this excerpt from his speech.


XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): Any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government and the authority of the basic law of the HKSAR or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible.


WATSON: So there had you had a distinct warning about red lines and we can infer that perhaps he is referring to a growing number of Hong Kongers that are calling for independence completely from China.

He is making clear that it is impossible and that is perceived to be a threat to China. A big part of this anniversary celebration is celebrating Hong Kong and its history but also making clear that, at the end of the day, it's the central government in Beijing that is in charge, even here in this freewheeling former British colony -- Cyril.

Ivan Watson, live from Hong Kong, helping us understand the political dynamic there and you will cover the protests as well later throughout the day, thank you very much, Ivan.

Now South Korea's president is making it clear that he does not want to see the regime in North Korea collapse. And nor does the South intend to attack or replace the North's leaders.

That is after U.S. President Donald Trump warned that the United States had run out of patience with Pyongyang. During the visit to the White House this week, South Korean president Moon Jae-in promised to work closely with Mr. Trump in order to restart the negotiations with North Korea on ending its nuclear program. CNN's Paula Hancocks has more on the talks between the two presidents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President of the United States and the president of the Republic of Korea.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two very different leaders with a common problem.

The presidents of South Korea and the United States discuss an ever- elusive solution on North Korea.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Together we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea, the nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response.


HANCOCKS (voice-over): Saying the North Korean regime has no regard for the safety of its people or its neighbors, Mr. Trump says the two leaders are working closely on a range of diplomatic, security and economic measures but added emphatically the U.S. will always defend itself and its allies.

President Moon had a message for North Korea, "Do not underestimate the resolution of the two countries."

He said, "We urge North Korea to return as soon as possible to the negotiation table for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

And earlier what could be described as a televised lecture to South Korea, President Trump making it clear he sees their trade deal as unfair, calling on his Commerce Secretary and economic adviser to spell out some of its grievances, although he says he was encouraged by President Moon's assurances.

TRUMP: Fact is that the United States has trade deficits with many, many countries and we cannot allow that to continue.

And we'll start with South Korea right now.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: He uses this tactic of embarrassment almost humiliation with some of

our best friends. And so far, it really hasn't come back to bite him yet but I suspect that over time it will.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): We can expect President Trump hearing South Korea within the year, President Moon said his invitation has been accepted.

Initial reactions on how South Korean media and pundits feel the summit went, less focused on trade and more on the fact that there appeared to be a rapport between the leaders, they say, a feeling that if they at least get on, then cooperation on North Korea will follow -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


VANIER: New details have emerged in the ongoing feud between President Trump and two TV journalists. The MSNBC co-hosts now say the Trump White House tried to use the threat of a negative tabloid story about them to influence their coverage of the president. CNN's Brian Stelter has this report.


BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump beats the press daily.

TRUMP: Fake news. Fake news.

Fake, fake news.

Fake news folks. A lot of fake.

STELTER (voice-over): But he has some powerful friends in the media.

Now two of his former pals...



STELTER (voice-over): -- are turning on him, accusing the White House of threatening them, saying President Trump wielded this supermarket tabloid like a weapon. The accusation highlights Trump's longtime back-scratching relationship with the "National Enquirer."

TRUMP: I have always said, why didn't the "National Enquirer" get the Pulitzer Prize for Edwards?

STELTER (voice-over): Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski say it all went down in the spring when White House aides called.

SCARBOROUGH: We got a call that, hey, the "National Enquirer" is going to run a negative story against you guys.

And they said, if you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story.

STELTER (voice-over): A White House official said that the TV stars have the story mixed up and it was really Scarborough calling Jared Kushner seeking help, trying kill the "Enquirer's" story.

Scarborough said he has the text messages to prove that they pressured him to grovel to Trump. The "Enquirer" went ahead in early June and published this story about newly engaged couple's previous marriages but not before allegedly harassing their families.

BRZEZINSKI: They were calling my children. They were calling close friends.

SCARBOROUGH: You're talking about the "National Enquirer"?

STELTER (voice-over): In a statement to CNN, the tabloid denied calling her kids and said it did not know anything about the White House connection.

The president has a long history with David Pecker, the CEO of the tabloid's parent company. Remember, it endorsed the president during the 2016 campaign, their first endorsement of a candidate in 90 years and it repeatedly went after Trump's rivals.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The President of the United States has a bully pulpit unlike anybody else. He plants in David Pecker's "National Enquirer" a lie about me.

STELTER (voice-over): Years ago, Trump even said Pecker should run "Time" magazine.


VANIER: Let's stay in the U.S. and move on to health care. President Trump's patience is wearing thin after stalled efforts to replace ObamaCare as he promised in his campaign.

On Friday, he tweeted this, "If Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, then they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date."

In the past, Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that repeal and replace would happen simultaneously. According to the White House, that still is the preferred route. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 50 million insured people would be without coverage by the year 2026 if ObamaCare were repealed without being replaced.

And coming up, water, food, medicine; Venezuela is running out of most of it, we will see the journey as many cross the border for help.


VANIER (voice-over): And one of sport's biggest stars says I do to his childhood sweetheart, footballer Lionel Messi gets married.




VANIER: The crisis gripping Venezuela is growing more violent with each passing day. New clashes erupted between police and protesters in Caracas on Friday. And the country's supreme court has also slapped a travel ban on attorney general Luisa Ortega (ph), who is a vocal critic of President Nicolas Maduro.

Officials say at least 83 people have died since the demonstrations began in the last few months and Venezuelans desperate for food and medicine have been heading to the Colombian border for basic necessities. Our Leyla Santiago spoke to some Venezuelans regularly making that very journey. Here's her report.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the border between Colombia and Venezuela. We are in Cucuta, Colombia, and this is where tens of thousands of people come from Venezuela to cross into Colombia to find some sort of relief from the economic instability, the political unrest, to get very basic goods to feed their families and for health care.

You can see this woman is coming through -- (speaking Spanish) -- looks like she has bread and she has some potatoes as well.

(Speaking Spanish).

And she is saying this will last her about five days. But she crosses into Colombia because she can't find this stuff over there. She said it's cheap on the other side. And she says, on the other side, there isn't any food, that -- she says that they are dying from starvation.

And that is just one face to what many here are calling a humanitarian crisis. We went onto the other side of Colombia; we talked to a store owner there. They told us, oftentimes in Colombia, the shelves are certainly full but because of the weak currency from Venezuela and the low wages -- minimum wage is about $45 U.S. a month -- many can't afford to buy things on the other side if they find it.

And they say soap, at this point, is a luxury -- Leyla Santiago, Cucuta, Colombia, CNN.


VANIER: French prosecutors are formally investigating far right leader Marine Le Pen in connection with a corruption scandal. The case relates to the alleged misuse of about 5 million euros in E.U. funds.

The European parliament suspects that she gave the European money to her National Front Party employees rather than the parliamentary assistance it was meant for. Le Pen's lawyer says she will appeal this decision.

And one of the world's top footballers is now off the market. Barcelona star Lionel Messi married his longtime girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo. The couple have known each other since they were little. They have --


VANIER: -- two children together. And the ceremony at a hotel and casino complex in Argentina was a star-studded event. Many football celebrities were among those who watched them tie the knot.

It made a big splash in Argentina's press, of course, one newspaper even calling it "the wedding of the century."

Still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, a month like no other. London comes to terms with a painful and unprecedented few weeks. A special CNN report up next.




VANIER: Terror attacks, a devastating fire and continued political uncertainty, London has just been through one what has been arguably one of its worst months in recent times. In a special film for CNN, Nick Glass takes a look back at this month that put Britain under pressure.


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Summer in the city. You wouldn't know it from above but a wounded scarred city, multinational, multifaith, multicultural London. The mood on the ground seems superficially the same, lazy, playful, sweltering Hyde Park. This was one of the hottest Junes on record.

There was still a detectable anxiety, perhaps, you can feel if you're a tourist in Trafalgar Square, a space for a girl from Dubai to blow bubbles and for the boys from South Korea to dance their selfie stick dance.

It wasn't just the heat wave. June was searing in so many other ways.

A month of political shocks. Theresa May only just managing to cling to power and disinclined to risk mixing with the general public.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep moving. Stay calm as you can.

GLASS (voice-over): For others, June was simply the cruelest of months. Terrorist savagery. And terrible human tragedy. Much of it recorded on mobile phones.

In June, London has gathered instead in silence, time and again, more often perhaps than they ever have in a single month.

SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: These have been a terrible two weeks for London, unprecedented in recent times.

CRESSIDA DICK, COMMISSIONER, METROPOLITAN POLICE SERVICE: This is a very resilient city. And this is a very, very resilient set of communities.

And we, in the Met, are as shocked as anybody in this local community or across the country at what has happened.

GLASS (voice-over): We revisited the site of the London Bridge attack, drove south across the river just as the terrorists had. There's now a concrete barrier along the pavement to protect pedestrians from being deliberately driven into.

Evil visited London Bridge on Saturday, June 3rd, just after 10 o'clock, the atrocity lasted eight long minutes. The abandoned terrorist van on the bridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't look back. Just keep moving.

GLASS (voice-over): People hiding, cowering under tables in restaurants.

Nearby Borough Market attracts many tourists. Three women, five men, were murdered that night --


GLASS (voice-over): -- victims of five nationalities -- Australia, France, Spain, Canada and Britain.

Police shot the three terrorists dead in the middle of the market, a policeman standing over one of them. The British foreign secretary referred to them as "scumbags."

A policeman decided to fight back on his own. The terrorist had long knives; he had a police baton. He suffered multiple injuries.

WAYNE MARQUES, POLICE OFFICER WHO FOUGHT LONDON BRIDGE ATTACKER WITH A BATON: There are members of the family and the girlfriend that think, no, that is enough. You've done your time. That's more than enough.

I wonder whether I have to answer that question at a later stage. I can't be a police officer without my left hand and without my left leg.

GLASS (voice-over): Staff at the Barrow Boy & Banker Pub, where two of the victims have been having a drink, are now receiving counseling. There's evidently deep trauma here. No one would talk to us.

And it was the same down in Borough Market. On a rainy evening, trade was good again. People were trying to move on. But staff working on that terrible night were keeping their own counsel.

There was a sense of a family still freshly in mourning. A few people haven't returned to work.

But inevitably, business life has resumed. Every day, they hurry past this shrine in the middle of London Bridge.

This is basically a memorial to a city banker, a Spaniard called Ignacio Echeverria. He died using his skateboard, defending a woman against a knife attack, hence the recurring skateboard motif.

A group of Spanish volunteers have been tending the shrine every day. Neither of these women knew Ignacio. They just admired him for his valor.

The Queen somehow seemed more visible during the month. At 91, she did what she always does in June, attending Trooping of the Colour and the races at Royal Ascot.

But she also had to read an unusually abbreviated Queen's Speech at the state opening of parliament, did so without all her usual regalia and with her eldest son for company. Prince Philip was ill on the day.

The Queen also visited the site of the terrible fire in West London that claimed at least 80 lives.

Driving out of town and you simply can't miss it, a blackened monolith among the tower blocks, a desolate burnt out shell, a stump, an accusing finger.

Tragedy struck Grenfell Tower in West London on Wednesday, June 14th, just before 1:00 in the morning. A local resident, Joe Delaney, was filming on his mobile.




DELANEY: It looks to me like it's only the outside.


DELANEY: Oh, my God.



DELANEY: Oh, Jesus! That's where the stairs are.


DELANEY: All you could that night was people screaming. That was it. There were people at windows up there who were just screaming the whole time, above, you know, for people to help them.

GLASS (voice-over): Revisiting the streets around the tower a week after the fire and the grief was still palpable. In the first few hours and days, relatives pin photos of their missing loved ones wherever they could and they were still going up, with long hope long faded.

This man named Jafari was remembering his father.

"Miss you, Dad," he had scrolled on the photo.

One woman was coming to terms with apparently losing six relatives, including her mother, her sister and three nieces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you want your family to be remembered? SAWSAN CHOUCAIR, RELATIVE OF MISSING PERSON: Love, memory, pictures and everything.

DELANEY: It's been horrible. I mean, it's like -- it is just really starting to hit me now. It's like, up to now, I've run on anger to get things done.

And I'm running out of anger to run on and there's nothing left to run on. And I don't know what -- I don't know what's going to be there when there's nothing left.

GLASS (voice-over): Utterly and emotionally drained, Joe Delaney simply broke down at the end of our interview, disappeared off into a corner and sat facing a blank wall, anguish personified.

Just a day before the Grenfell fire, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition opened in London, an annual ritual for art lovers. But even here, there was art that resonated -- a howl, a scream for our times: a fiberglass sculpture by Anish Kapoor, bloody and --


GLASS (voice-over): -- white, called "Unborn"; and a neon piece from Tracey Emin, "Never Again."

Finsbury Park, North London, Monday, June 19th, shortly after a midnight. And a man is pinned to the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to kill? You want to kill me?

GLASS (voice-over): This was the driver of a van. He had just veered off the road and driven into a group of Muslim worshippers. One man died, 10 others were injured. Most of the victims and eyewitnesses were Somali.

MARYAN ALI, WITNESS OF FINSBURY PARK ATTACK: I was shocked. Shocked! I never see something be like that. Even in my country was war, I never see people as like this. Never.

GLASS (voice-over): Abdul Muridi is 29. He runs the cafe just a few yards away. The victims were his customers, his friends. He's still in shock.


As human being, would you like to go around the city you're living in and looking behind your back?

GLASS (on camera): And that's what you feel now?


Will you feel -- will you like that? A land you -- the country you're living in. Every time you come out

from your house, if you're driving, if you're walking, you have to look behind your back because you never know who is there.

GLASS (voice-over): Londoners are hoping that July will also be warm, but in that very English way, not quite as hot as June. They'd also like it to be uneventful. Some communities in Central West and North London are still healing -- Nick Glass, CNN, in the great and recovering city of London.


VANIER: All right. Thank you very much to Nick Glass for that report. We will be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with CNN.