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Trump's Twitter Tirade; U.S.-South Korea Summit; Hong Kong Handover Anniversary; Battle for Mosul; Crisis in Venezuela; U.S. Health Care; Tabloid Has History of Some Scoops, Many Misses. Aired 5- 6a ET

Aired July 1, 2017 - 05:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president and the new president of South Korea talk North Korea.

Overshadowing it all, though, Mr. Trump's latest Twitter spats.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A few blocks, that's all that remains as the Iraqi army pushes ISIS out. We'll have a live report from Iraq this hour.

HOWELL (voice-over): And in Hong Kong, the Chinese president draws a red line, saying he won't tolerate challenges to Beijing's authority.

ALLEN (voice-over): It's all ahead here. And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, we are live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell from CNN news headquarters. NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: And the U.S. president turned to Twitter on Friday to show his frustration over stalled legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. He also held an important meeting with South Korea's president to discuss how best to deal with North Korea.

HOWELL: Really important issues, I'm sure you'd agree that it's all being overshadowed by the president's ongoing Twitter spat with two U.S. journalists. Our Jim Acosta has this report.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Standing with the South Korean president, President Trump issued yet another dire warning on the threat posed by North Korea.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years and it's failed. And frankly, that patience is over. ACOSTA: But as the president was leaving the Rose Garden, nearly all the questions shouted at him were not about national security --

QUESTION: Will you apologize to Mika Brzezinski, Mr. President?

ACOSTA (voice-over): They were about the president's tweets and his ongoing war of words with MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who now alleged White House aides made them an offer, go softer on your coverage of Mr. Trump and the president will kill a story about the TV host in the "National Enquirer".

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: He 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.

ACOSTA: A White House official confirmed Scarborough did speak with the president's his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but the official denied there was ever any offer of a quid pro quo.

Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said it was all about counterpunching critics in the media, critics Conway described as unpatriotic.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: It doesn't help the American people to have a president covered in this light. I'm sorry, it's neither productive, nor patriotic.

ACOSTA: The president is also disrupting Senate negotiations over health care, tweeting, if Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date. That mirrors the suggestion from some GOP lawmakers who are growing frustrated with the logjam in the Senate.

SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: What I'm recommending is that we give comfort to the American people by repealing the maximum amount of ObamaCare that we can, but add a one-year delay before that would be effective, so there is an action forcing event so that we get to work.

ACOSTA: The problem is, it's not what the president promised.

TRUMP: We're going to do it simultaneously. It would be just fine. We're not going to have like a two-day period and we're not going to have a two-year period where there is nothing. It will be repealed and replaced.

ACOSTA: Even some Republicans say splitting up repeal and replace won't work.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: The problem is, we know how Washington works. You can't -- sometimes on deadlines, we still don't get things done.

ACOSTA: Now, as for health care, White House officials tried to clarify the president's stance today, saying they're looking at all options. Asked whether the president now just favors an approach of repealing

and not replacing, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president's thinking has not changed on the issue -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


ALLEN: Let's talk about all of this with Scott Lucas, who teaches international politics at the University of Birmingham in England.

Good to see you, Scott. Thanks again for being with us. I've been in this anchor chair for a decade, covering many presidents. And Kellyanne Conway, I want to start with her comment there, where she said that this media coverage is unpatriotic.

No president gets a pass from the media when they take the oath of office. It just doesn't happen. So why he thinks he's being singled out unfairly...

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Well, this has happened before. Richard Nixon, for example, was no fan of the media and at times declared them almost an enemy during the Watergate period. But Trump has taken this to new levels. He's extremely sensitive to criticism personally.

But then you combine that with the challenges of the office, of everything from the investigations into possible collusion with Russia to the difficulties over his legislative process, including health care; his problems with the courts, including the attempted Muslim ban.

Therefore, each morning when he gets up in that White House alone, turns on the news --


LUCAS: -- whether it's CNN, whether it's MSNBC and Mika Brzezinski, whether it's FOX, he comments on it immediately. And that means that the serious attention that we need to all these issues gives this overlay of what is a war on the media.

And I want to be very clear. This is a war on the media. This is an attempt not only to say the media is wrong in what it says here or that they have their information incorrect, it is an attempt to suppress what you and other journalists are trying to do not only by Trump but by high level advisers like Kellyanne Conway.

ALLEN: And it seems, you know, Republicans have urged him to stop, that it is unprofessional and, you know, it was vulgar, again, against a woman in his tweet and he doesn't seem to care that he's embarrassing himself.

LUCAS: Well, two points here. First, Trump doesn't care. And let's be very clear here. There is a history with Mr. Trump of offensive comments and offensive actions towards women. I won't give the numerous cases here but this goes back many years. The second point is probably more important, that the Republicans,

including those in Congress, will come out and they'll chide Trump. So, for example, when he made offensive comments about another journalist, Megyn Kelly, last year, they said oh, this is awful. Tut, tut.

And then when the tape came out where several years ago he basically bragged about sexual aggression towards women, they said, oh, this is awful. And briefly they almost broke away from him because they thought he might not be electable.

But on every occasion, they have gone back, whether it's a case of supporting him after the election or whether it's that case of supporting him over legislation or at least not taking action, they have not backed up their words by saying this cannot stand.

Now this may change with the health care bill because it's interesting that his latest comments against women -- you have two influential women senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, who are moderates, who have questions about the bill. And it may be that a line is drawn not only by those senators but by others, which says, Mr. President, if you want us to seriously work with you, this has got to stop.

ALLEN: And you know, the American people that are on ObamaCare, they deserve better with the back-and-forth over this health care issue. And now with the thought of repealing it, just it seems to swipe ObamaCare off the map, that perhaps that might be priority one.

LUCAS: It's not just putting ObamaCare away. Let's, again, cite Trump's tweets. He has said that if he can't get his legislation through, he wants to see ObamaCare fail.

In other words, he wants to see people drop into chaos, uncertainty, with a lack of coverage, with soaring premiums, with no one able to organize the system. In other words, he's willing to tear the entire system down out of spite. That is what happens.

If you repeal ObamaCare and you do want replace it, that means that not only the almost 50 million people who did not have coverage before 2009 now are in limbo. It means many of us who do have coverage still do not know if it will cover all medical conditions. And we do not know what we will have to pay for it.

He's willing, basically, to burn the whole place down out of, again, his hatred of criticism and his inability to legislate.

ALLEN: We will wait and see what happens after this holiday. All right. Scott Lucas for us, thank you.

HOWELL: You know, you put your political affiliations aside, this is not about Right or Left, it's not about the politics, it's just simply about right or wrong. And it comes down to simple decency, the values that we were lucky enough to learn from parents, just to be kind to each other. So it's unfortunate to see. The U.S. and South Korea seem to be sending mixed messages about North Korea. This while the president is warning that Washington's patience is over. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in is urging open dialogue.

ALLEN: Yes. He says, "President Trump and I will not pursue a hostile policy against North Korea. We have no intention to attack North Korea. We do not wish to see the regime replaced or collapse."

For more, here is our Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's first White House meeting with South Korea's newly elected president Moon came with a message for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

TRUMP: The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed, many years that it's failed. And frankly, that patience is over.

STARR: But now what?

How does the Trump administration intend to stop North Korea's rapidly accelerating effort to build a missile and a nuclear warhead that could hit the United States?

TRUMP: We're working closely with South Korea and Japan as well as partners around the world on a range of diplomatic, security and economic measures to --


TRUMP: -- protect our allies and our own citizens from this menace known as North Korea.

STARR: The U.S. military remains on alert, watching for any hint of a missile launch or even another underground nuclear test. Trump initially leaned on China to help stop North Korea's weapons testing.

TRUMP: The relationship developed by President Xi and myself, I think, is outstanding.

STARR: Pressuring Chinese President Xi to use his influence with Kim. But that appears to have changed. The Trump administration issued new sanctions against a Chinese bank for allegedly helping North Korea, then hours later announced a massive U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province. Beijing is furious.

LU KANG, SPOKESMAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): The U.S. arms sale to Taiwan has seriously violated international law and basic principles of international relations.

STARR: With diplomacy uncertain, U.S. military options for North Korea have recently been updated. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The threat is much more immediate now. The president has directed us to prepare a range of options including a military option, which nobody wants to take.

STARR: But a U.S. military strike could trigger catastrophe.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TOM DONILON: , I think, that if U.S. chose to strike North Korea in any way, we would most likely see an immediate North Korean response.

That could take different forms. It could be a counterattack on South Korea. It could be another cyber-attack. And Kim Jong-un, feeling as emboldened as he does, would likely react in a very strong way.

STARR: And a North Korean counterattack could have a massive human toll, millions of South Koreans and 28,000 U.S. troops and their families at risk -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


ALLEN: Thousands of people are marching in Hong Kong right now. They're gathered on the 20th anniversary of the former British territory's handover back to China.

Many of the demonstrators are worried China will erode Hong Kong's democratic freedom.

HOWELL: The Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Hong Kong earlier Saturday for the anniversary. He warned against any challenges to Beijing's authority. Listen.


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.


HOWELL: Mr. Xi also swore in Hong Kong's first female leader. Carrie Lam says she recognized that Hong Kong faced political and economic challenges but she added they can't be resolved overnight.

Let's get straight to Ivan Watson, live in Hong Kong, where that annual protest march is taking place this hour.

Ivan, I see that a lot of people are there, more than we saw from just last hour from this particular view.

But given the heat, given the situation, these demonstrators are still determined to have their voices heard? IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is a little hard to hear you; I'm sorry, George. But this does seem to have grown somewhat from the start of the protest march a couple hours ago. And it is a unique Hong Kong tradition.

Every July 1st, groups of all different kinds, from across the spectrum of political parties and associations and agendas, they come out and they march here in the streets. And you will not see this, George, in any other city in China because China has one-party rule, the Communist Party, and no other political parties are allowed.

So these kinds of scenes, some of these people very critical of the central government, some people lobbying about completely different issues like workers' rights, shorter working hours, or members of the Falun Gong religious movement, which is banned in China, they all kind of come out in this mosaic on this day, which is allowed under Hong Kong's basic law, a mini-constitution that it inherited during the handover from British rule to Chinese central government rule 20 years ago.

That was celebrated as a return to the homeland by the authorities, by the central government. Many of the people here are worried that the central government is increasingly tightening its grip around this former British colony and slowly eroding the democratic freedoms that people here are enjoying.

Now there is another issue here, too, and that is a growing sense of alienation between Hong Kong and the rest of China. A recent Hong Kong University survey showed --


WATSON: -- some 62 percent of Hong Kongers surveyed said they are not proud to be citizens of China. And that number soars when you get to Hong Kongers under the age of 30. That number goes up to 80 percent. It's within that youth demographic that you see growing support for independence completely from China.

And one of the messages that Xi Jinping said during his three-day visit here was celebrating the return of Hong Kong, saying, yes, you do have democratic freedom but certain ideas, like separatism, simply will not be tolerated -- George.

HOWELL: On that point -- and I know you're having trouble hearing; I'll be brief.

Is the president's message having a chilling effect on people there, that there is a certain line that is not to be crossed?

WATSON: There is worry, not just from today but I think over the past two years since the Occupy, Umbrella movement protests of 2014 and, more recently, the detention of a number of booksellers, who publish books deeply critical of the Chinese government.

And these men, five of them suddenly were discovered across the border in China. Moments like that have raised questions about the future of democratic freedoms here in Hong Kong.

There's other anxiety as well, concern about -- and here the skies are starting to open up with the rain coming down. And the umbrellas, which are everyday utensils and tools here in Hong Kong but also a symbol of that Umbrella movement, the protest movement of 2014.

But part of the anxiety is cultural, linguistic as well. This is a Cantonese speaking city; Mainland China, Mandarin speaking; there's been a huge influx of mainlanders to Hong Kong. They have driven up property prices, creating a housing crisis.

And that's part of why, particularly the youth here feel alienated and disaffected. They think they can simply never get a chance to own their own home, part of why many people aren't celebrating 20 years of the handover from Britain back to China -- George.

There is that old statement that democracy is messy; the rain adding to it there. Ivan Watson, showing us the spirit of Hong Kong, live there. Thanks for the reporting.

Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, Iraqi forces say they will retake Mosul within days. But that may not be the hardest part of the challenge. Ahead, we'll discuss why securing that city could prove even more difficult.




HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. The U.N. Refugee Agency says nearly half a million Syrians have come back to their homes this year alone. The majority of those people were still within the country or internally displaced. But tens of thousands of people also returned from neighboring countries.

ALLEN: Most people are returning to cities like Aleppo and Damascus, where they perceive an improved security situation. But the U.N. itself is not as optimistic. They say they won't start an operation to return the remaining displaced, around 11 million people, until safety conditions improve.


ANDREJ MAHOCIC, SPOKESMAN, UNRA: Most of these people are returning to check on their properties to find out about the family members. This is what we know from some of the evidence that we have gathered.

In some cases, they have their own perceptions about the security, whether they are real or received improvements, in the security situation in the areas where they are going to.


ALLEN: Iraqi forces say the fight for Mosul is in its final days. They're now engaged in a fierce battle with militants still holed up in a few blocks of the old city.

HOWELL: It's a small area and just a few hundred ISIS fighters remain there. The troops on the ground have no illusion that the victory will not come easily.

ALLEN: Our Nick Paton Walsh has seen the fighting in Mosul firsthand and has seen how ISIS will fight to the death and that is expected. He is in Irbil for us, live -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, we are, as you say, in the closing stages of the fight for the old city of Mosul. This is a matter of hundreds of meters.

In fact, we've seen some drone footage, which shows the position where Iraqi special forces have moved to. It is literally a couple of hundred feet, 400 meters away from the river banks of the river that runs through the center of Mosul and that itself marks the back end of ISIS territory there.

But this fight is brutal, bloody and exhausting and (INAUDIBLE) in the searing heat of the Iraqi summer, they are pushing through booby trapped buildings here, block to block, edging their way forward. And (INAUDIBLE) ourselves as they progress down one set of streets, they may move past a pocket of civilians, who run out from the rubble and hobble, some of them injured, towards them, seeking water, seeking shelter.

They're often terrified, the Iraqi special forces, frankly, of these civilians because some of them may well, as has been in the past few days, turn out to be suicide bombers. So they have to move with great caution here.

So this fight is in. Both coalition and the Iraqi government agree it's closing few days here. And when they finally reach the point in the old city of Mosul, where they can declare it predominantly cleared of ISIS, they will still face an urgency over the days and weeks ahead, that hides in buildings, that attacks using car bombs against civilian targets.

This war is not finished, despite the political rush a couple of days ago to declare when the al-Nuri mosque fell into their hands, that the fight was more or less over. And then of course, the theory is what happens politically afterward.

Does the predominantly Shia government in Baghdad see the necessity to urgently reach out to the Sunni populations, in the Sunni areas where ISIS found extremists in the Sunni population's midst willing to provide them support and succor?

That's the broader challenge for Iraq ahead. Back to you.

ALLEN: A long, long slog to get to this point. Thank you, Nick Paton Walsh, for us.

For more, here's George. HOWELL: And now let's bring in Raffaello Pantucci. He is the director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London.

It's great to have you with us this hour here on NEWSROOM.

Raffaello, the headline we just heard from Nick Paton Walsh, that the battle for the city is in its final stages. But in the days and weeks and months to come, it will be about rebuilding the crumbled infrastructure there. It will be about helping the civilians who have had their lives turned upside down.

The fighting was hard but will this next phase be harder?

RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI, RUSI: Now you enter the phase that as we see repeatedly has proven to be the most difficult, the fighting on the ground (INAUDIBLE) is very tough. And I think a lot of credit has to be given to the forces who are fighting a very brutal battle.

And as your colleague just described, it's in a very searing heat and a very difficult condition. But at the same time, the question is really what comes next.

How do you ensure that the populations there are then won back and are given a sense they have a say in Iraqi society and are given a sense that they really are part of the bigger country and are therefore can become part of the building blocks to ensure that you have a place in Mosul that is no longer able to be susceptible to ISIS influence and more?

And, I think, building that piece is really going to be the difficult part that is going to take, as you said, months and years into the future.

HOWELL: I was having an editorial chat with our producer just about the point that we've been reporting on, that ISIS fighters have been pushed out of Mosul.

But here's the question.


HOWELL: Where are they being pushed to?

Where are they going?

And are there other concerns as they continue to move forward?

PANTUCCI: I think the issue has to be that when we see -- when you think about the group ISIS, so-called Islamic State, daish, whatever you want to call it, it's an organization that's been around in one shape or form basically since the late 1990s, when it first established itself in Afghanistan, at the place there was an army that basically overthrew the (INAUDIBLE) regime (INAUDIBLE) regime (INAUDIBLE). And it's then gone from there to being one of the active participants of the conflict in the American-led war that America, they sprang up in 2003, to then become this organization, that grew and shrank over time to be this organization that controlled (INAUDIBLE) pieces of territory within Iraq and Syria.

And in all that time, it continued to exist in one shape or form. And it's grown and it's (INAUDIBLE) territory, lost territory. And in the moments that we've seen the local populations and the local Iraqi governments in particular push back (INAUDIBLE) taken back to the hills and bide its time from this, continue to launch attacks against the Iraqi state or now the Syrian state.

I think the difficulty we have now is that previously it was an organization that could have melted back into the hills of Iraq. Now it's got a full-blown civil war happening in Syria in which we participate and will continue to participate.

And there you've got a situation, you (INAUDIBLE) dominant force to take over the territory (INAUDIBLE) Iraq. In Syria, you have got a very fragmented battlefield and a very fragmented civil war that continues to persist.

And so within that space, there's a lot of (INAUDIBLE) like ISIS to slither back in, maybe to (INAUDIBLE) control (INAUDIBLE) large pieces of territory but continue to exist and to thrive and rebuild from that to then start to campaign again against the Iraqi state or the Syrian state.

HOWELL: That is certainly a big concern in Iraqi, though; security forces will absolutely have to keep their foot on the pedal with their efforts.

Let's talk now about the Shia government in Baghdad, when it comes to rebuilding Mosul, reaching out to a predominantly Sunni population there.

What will it take to ensure a transparent and fair process to be established to bring basically order back to that city?

PANTUCCI: Well, I think that's going to be the difficult challenge, that I think the Shia government in Baghdad is going to have. I mean, this is one of the problems in many ways in the first place why Islamic State was able to rise so strongly in this part of the country because it had, to some degree, a population there who felt that the government in Baghdad did not represent them.

And so as a result, when an organization comes along, even as brutal as the Islamic State, and (INAUDIBLE) we have (INAUDIBLE) against this oppressive Shia-led government that's ruling, dominating me from Baghdad, and there also the reports of sectarian killing, (INAUDIBLE) vendettas and anger coming out of the government but it's -- you know, they were willing to let this group come in and take over more territory (INAUDIBLE).

The question is, can the incoming Shia (INAUDIBLE), the incoming government (INAUDIBLE) prove that they are really a government of Iraqi national unity and that they really are a government that's there to make sure that Sunnis have a voice in Baghdad. And I think that's really going to be the key and it's going to take a lot of time. It's going to take a lot of trust building and a lot of rebuilding to ensure that that is believed by the populations in Mosul.

HOWELL: Raffaello Pantucci is the director of the international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute. Thank you so much for your insight there in London today.

ALLEN: Got a ways to go there for sure.

HOWELL: Absolutely.

ALLEN: Well, after months of violent protests, Venezuelans are standing in line for hours to get the most basic supplies. We'll have a report, coming up.

HOWELL: Plus, rural hospitals under threaten in the United States. How budget cuts could affect small-town health care. We'll show you a situation right here in the state of Georgia. We're live from Atlanta, Georgia. To our viewers in the U.S. and around the world this hour, You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): 5:32 am on the nose here on the U.S. East Coast. Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.


HOWELL: As the political crisis deepens in the nation of Venezuela, the violence is growing deadlier there. Just Friday, new clashes between demonstrators and police killed more than -- killed two more civilians, I should say. Now the death toll is at 83.

ALLEN: With the struggling economy, many Venezuelans are also running out of basic resources. Our Rafael Romo reports.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: People that we've talked to on the street in Caracas, the capital, say that, in Venezuela, you don't thrive but barely survive.

For many people, a typical day in Venezuela involves standing in line for several hours outside a supermarket or a bakery to be able to buy anything they can. In many instances, they leave empty-handed after several hours of waiting. There is also a big cash problem in Venezuela. The government

promised last December that it would make available higher denomination bills and people have just started to see them at ATMs but only in the capital.

Why is there such a shortage of cash?

Well, the main problem is inflation. The International Monetary Fund forecasts inflation will rise to nearly 1,700 percent this year.

And, finally, the international community is concerned about an inquiry targeting Venezuelan attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz.

Why is she being targeted?

Well, she broke ranks with President Nicolas Maduro and accuses the government --


ROMO: -- of violating the rights of protestors and ignoring the constitution. The U.N. issued a statement Friday calling a pretrial hearing "deeply worrying" -- Rafael Romo, CNN.


HOWELL: Rafael, thank you.

Clashes broke out at anti-government demonstrations in Brazil. Police there fired teargas into crowds in Rio de Janeiro as protesters hit back with fireworks late Friday night.

The rally was organized against the president, Michel Temer. His administration is trying to change labor and pension laws. Mr. Temer has repeatedly refused to resign even after he was charged with corruption this week.

ALLEN: A hospital became the site of a horrific shooting Friday in New York. A doctor who used to work there opened fire, killing one person and shooting six others.

HOWELL: Authorities say the shooter then turned the gun on himself, taking his own life. Our Polo Sandoval has this report for us.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This morning, five doctors, many of them young medical students in the early part of their career, people who were hoping to save lives, are currently fighting for their lives here at Bronx-Lebanon Medical Center in New York.

These are individuals that, according to police, were shot by a man who used to practice medicine here in 2014 during a relatively short stint at this medical facility before resigning in 2015 under unknown circumstances. What I can tell you, though, this was a very chaotic scene yesterday

afternoon as the sound of gunfire erupted upstairs in this medical facility. We do understand that this man is -- this man who then turned the gun on himself is being described as a disgruntled employee.

There was a sixth individual who was injured, the only patient who was shot, according to officials here that I've spoken to, they tell me that patient is expected to pull through.

But truly, that chaotic scene also is something many did not expect to happen. This is a hospital, a place usually of peace, a place where people turn to for shelter or for treatment, turned into as one doctor described it for me, a virtual war zone.

But, again, investigators still trying to determine a motive, trying to determine what could have led to this shooting, why a person who was a doctor came here to a place that he practiced medicine and then opened fire on some of his colleagues.


HOWELL: Polo Sandoval, thank you.

ALLEN: In the U.S. state of Illinois, a man is now under arrest in the disappearance of a Chinese graduate student: 26-year-old Yingying Zhang was last seen last June 9th. Authorities have charged Brendt Christensen with kidnapping her. The FBI fears she is no longer alive.

HOWELL: Surveillance video shows Zhang getting into Christensen's car on the day that she disappeared. According to a criminal complaint, the suspect was overheard, saying that he had abducted her. The complaint also says he visited online forums that describe how to carry out kidnappings.

In the United States, Republican efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare might be putting rural Americans at risk.

ALLEN: Many small towns have lost hospitals due to shrinking budgets and cuts to Medicaid could make this problem worse. Here is Nick Valencia.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here in Richland, Georgia, just two hours south of Atlanta, it's a different world from the big city. Access to basic services, including a hospital, is not a guarantee.


VALENCIA: Dr. Alluri Raju has been the only doctor in town since the nearest hospital, Stewart Webster Hospital, shut down in 2013. Nearly 100 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. And now hundreds more are at risk. To add insult to injury, the facility was shuttered with little warning.

RAJU: Gave us notice on Monday and we closed the hospital by Friday.

VALENCIA (on camera): What was that like?

RAJU: Oh, it was very devastating and very sad.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Dr. Raju, who was the chief of staff at the hospital, is now in high demand.

RAJU: I see about 22, 25 patients a day.

VALENCIA (on camera): And you're the only doctor here?

RAJU: I work full time, Monday through Friday.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Raju says most of his patients are elderly. And that 95 percent of his patients are now on Medicare or Medicaid.

Under the new health care Senate bill, these subsidies would shrivel, putting the only doctor in town at risk of closing, too.

RAJU: If there is Medicaid cuts, it's going to impact.

VALENCIA (on camera): How bad?

RAJU: Very bad.

VALENCIA (voice-over): With the nearest hospital at least a 45-minute drive away, residents of Richland live in a medical desert.

It makes the jobs of Ed Lynch and his small crew of EMTs even harder. His two ambulances service an area larger than Los Angeles. They receive an average of 1,200 calls per year.

ED LYNCH, EMT: They can be hung up at a hospital three, four hours before they get a bed. And then, if we get a call, we can go hours without coverage.

VALENCIA: Since the hospital shut down, they've become mobile emergency rooms.

LYNCH: Rural Georgia is dying. There used to be --


LYNCH: -- hospitals littering the whole state.

VALENCIA: It's more than just an inconvenience for Richland resident, Anna Lord Barrett. With no hospital close by and Dr. Raju unavailable, she had to call an ambulance when she caught the flu.

ANNA LORD BARRETT, RICHLAND, GEORGIA, RESIDENT: It would have been simpler to get fluids right here and come home, which is what I needed. But it took all night long.

VALENCIA: But without a hospital, others, who have suffered from something more serious, haven't been so lucky.

LYNCH: I can remember when having to ventilate somebody. I've seen people I know all my life die. We can't save everybody. But it's nice to save the ones we can.

VALENCIA (on camera): Rural residents are in a public health crisis. Small-town hospitals, like this one, are closing all across America. But especially in the southeast. Here in Georgia, the state has identified up to 50 other small-town hospitals in danger of closing doors -- Nick Valencia, CNN, Richland, Georgia.


ALLEN: That certainly gives a picture of our health crisis, doesn't it?

HOWELL: Absolutely.

ALLEN: When we come back here, did Iran just record the world's hottest-ever temperature. Derek Van Dam will have that for us.



HOWELL: Many of you will like this, as many Americans will be happy to hear this. They'll be getting a raise today for the hike in the minimum wage taking effect in parts of the country.

In San Francisco, the rate goes up to $14 an hour. In Los Angeles, it rises to between $10.5 to $12, depending on the size of the business.

ALLEN: Other cities include Chicago, where the wage is now $11 an hour and Maryland, where just it's over $9. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Congress hasn't raised it in 10 years.


The Pentagon is delaying a decision on allowing transgender people to serve in the military. That's according to a memo seen by CNN. A decision has been due but Defense Secretary James Mattis says more time is needed. Many Republicans in Congress are opposed to allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces.

HOWELL: A city in southwestern Iran may have just tied the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet.


ALLEN: Canada is having a moment on the world stage. Its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, that social media darling that he is, the country has been applauded for its openness toward refugees and now it's celebrating a major milestone.

HOWELL: Security preparations are underway on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to mark Canada Day. It's the country's anniversary and this year it's extra special. Canada is turning 150.

Some royal visitors have already kicked off the festivities. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall started their national tour in the country's far north.

ALLEN: Happy anniversary to Canada.

Still ahead here, supermarket tabloids are often dismissed as fake news but not everything they print is false.

We'll take a look back at some of the "National Enquirer's" most notable scoops.




ALLEN: President Trump is reviving America's National Space Council. The U.S. president signed an executive order Friday, bringing back an organization not seen in decades.

HOWELL: The president says the decision sends a positive message about America's space program. And he even took a moment to share a joke. Listen.


TRUMP: Our journey into space will not make us stronger and more prosperous but will unite us behind grand ambitions and bring us all closer together.

Wouldn't that be nice?

Can you believe space is going to do that?

I thought politics was going to do that. Well, we'll have to rely on space instead.


HOWELL: Well, if space would do that, Twitter certainly is not.

ALLEN: Exactly. The supermarket tabloid "National Enquirer," which is often ridiculed for its outlandish headlines, is now the center of a feud between the U.S. president and two TV journalists.

HOWELL: While it's tempting to dismiss the "Enquirer" stories as false, the paper occasionally has major scoops. Our Sara Ganim has this report.


SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite the tabloid headlines, there are times when the "National Enquirer" has been spot on with big political stories.

Its most well-known scoop during the run-up to the 2008 election when it accused Democratic front runner, John Edwards, of cheating on his cancer-stricken wife with his campaign videographer, Neil Hunter, even fathering a secret love child with her.

Back then, an "Enquirer" reporter showed CNN how he tracked it all down.

ALEX HITCHEN, REPORTER, NATIONAL ENQUIRER: I say to him, Mr. Edwards, I'm from the "National Enquirer." We know that you have been with Ms. Hunter.

Do you think it is about time to actually tell everyone that you are actually the father of this child?

GANIM: Still, Edwards denied it for years.

JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have responded to it consistently, to these tabloid allegations by saying I don't respond to these lies.

GANIM: Most media stayed away even the "Enquirer" published a photograph purportedly of Edwards visiting Hunter and their little girl. Edwards called the photo fake.

But eventually the lie unraveled. The "Enquirer" did a victory lap, taking credit for Edwards' fall from grace. The Pulitzer Prize board reportedly even considered the publication for journalism's top prize, something candidate Donald Trump supported.

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

GANIM: The "Enquirer" declares it is the only publication with guts to tell it like it is and that it's been proven correct about other scandalous affairs, like in 1987 when Democratic presidential nominee Gary Hart had been forced to suspend his campaign after news reports revealed the relationship with model Donna Rice.

The "Enquirer" provided --


GANIM: -- the visual proof, publishing this memorable photograph of Rice sitting on Hart's lap on a yacht. That expectedly stole the end of his political career.

And in 2001, Jesse Jackson admitted to having a love child with a top aide as the "National Enquirer" prepared to uncover his affair in a story.

Then in 2003 Rush Limbaugh was forced to admit he had a painkiller addiction after the "National Enquirer" paid his housekeeper to reveal that she has been supplying the conservative talk show host with prescription pain killers. Law enforcement confirmed it and Limbaugh went to rehab.

Not to say they always get it right. They don't. Week after week, farfetched stories accompanied by eyebrow raising headlines give it a questionable reputation. The "Enquirer" was just plain wrong when it published that Congressman Gary Condit's wife attacked his missing intern, Chandra Levy, in 2001 before her disappearance. The "Enquirer" settled a million dollar libel suit over the story.

And during the contentious 2016 primary campaign, stories about Ted Cruz, about alleged affairs and about his father were widely criticized and never proven to be true.


ALLEN: The "Enquirer," perhaps the most famous or infamous of tabloids in the United States.

HOWELL: Sara Ganim giving us a timeline of their hits and many misses.

Thank you for being with us here on NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. For viewers in the U.S., "NEW DAY" is next. For everyone else around the world, you'll be watching "AMANPOUR." Thank you for watching us.