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Fierce Fighting Rages in Mosul; Diplomatic Rift Unites Qatar's People; Trump Resumes Attacks on News Media; Venezuelans Cross the Border for Basic Supplies; 1800-year-old Ruins Found Frozen in Time in Rome; Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired July 2, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:07] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Street empty and each human they meet is either desperate to escape or the enemy.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: As Iraqi soldiers retake Mosul house-by- house, CNN takes you to the front line.

And Donald Trump explains his Twitter attacks. He says they're presidential.

Plus Rome's latest metro line is going to have to wait a bit. Ruins dating back almost two millennia are getting in the way.

Hi, everybody. Thank you very much for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier in Atlanta. And your CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Let's start this hour with a CNN exclusive in Iraq. ISIS is on its last legs in Mosul but that doesn't make the fighting any less violent. Photographer Gabriel Chaim has followed Special Forces, and you may find some of his footage disturbing.

Our Nick Paton Walsh has the story.


WALSH (voice-over): From here to the river is all ISIS has left of Mosul. And this is the story of how it fell on the streets around the mosque they once held sacred but then destroyed.

Brazilian photographer Gabriel Chaim is on foot with Iraqi Special Forces. Every foothold could hit a booby trap. An eerie silence, holes in just about everything, endless soot.

Streets empty. And each human they meet is either desperate to escape or the enemy.

In the alleyways, two men approach them. One is carrying a bomb. They rush in to help their wounded.

The second man carrying a much larger device.

Gabriel struggles to breath. The dust also means they can't see if there are any other bombers or where their three dead and dozens wounded colleagues lie.

The advance continues up to and around the mosque. As civilians, human shields for weeks, stoop under gunfire or are even oblivious to it. Some never leave the underground. Loud, constant blasts in the darkness.

Unable to walk, the first man feigns ignorance but soon admits ISIS were on the roof and have mined the entire street. The interrogator later tells his team the man is, himself, ISIS.

For the past week, the desperate rush to life had continued. The U.N. estimated 150,000 people were trapped here. But in the end, nobody had any idea, or how many lie left behind them in the rubble.

"Water, water. I'm dying," she screams, her lips white. In crippling heat and panic, pray you never thirst like this, or what it is like to carry your family out, lifeless on a cart. This is his mother.

"For God's sake, help me carry him," he cries. They try, running to the closest point in the narrow street a vehicle can reach. "Stop the blood loss," they plead. It's unclear if the boy survived.

Even when this trap of dust is cleared of ISIS, the killing in Iraq's fractured society won't stop. And her private hell of memories won't suddenly be washed away.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Mosul.


VANIER: And on Monday another CNN exclusive exposes the human side of war. In the Netherlands, Atika Shubert speaks with a Syrian mother getting desperate message from her daughter stuck in Raqqa.


TEXT: I'm exhausted, Mom. I can't bear this life anymore. My son is sick, and there's no medicine or clean water or anything for my child. It was really hard to find some milk yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No, I haven't seen him. My dear, I wake up in sadness. I go to bed in sadness. I don't know any other emotion than sadness. Every day I live in fear of tomorrow.


[03:05:03] VANIER: We'll have the full story on Monday only on CNN.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is urging the Emir of Qatar and the king of Bahrain to resolve a crisis between Qatar and its neighbors. Monday is the deadline for Doha to comply with 13 demands from several Gulf Arab states. And it's increasingly unlikely that that deadline will be met. Qatar's Foreign minister says larger nations should not bully smaller ones and he says Qatar is ready to face the consequences.

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL THANI, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTER: This list of demands made to be rejected. It's not made to be accepted. They're not made to be negotiated.

The state of Qatar instead rejecting it as a principle. We are willing to engage in providing the proper condition for further dialogue. This country -- Qatar is in a region which is considered the center of stability in a turbulence region. So there is, I think, enough wisdom in avoiding such irresponsible action against Qatar or against any country.

And none of the countries and our international allies is going to accept such an escalation in that region. The region is a vital for the entire world. It's not just vital for the Arab region.


VANIER: Now Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing it as supporting terrorism something which Qatar denied.

Here's some of their demands to Qatar. Shut down all Al Jazeera channels, stop developing a Turkish military base in the country, reduce diplomatic ties with Iran, and cut ties to terrorist organizations. Also stop interfering in the four countries' affairs and stop giving Qatari nationality to citizens of those four Gulf nations.

How are Qataris themselves responding to this crisis? Well, many say that they support their emir and they do not want Qatar to give into the demands.

More from Jomana Karadsheh.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four years ago, Dana Alfardan ended her singing career to focus on composing music. But as her country, Qatar, is facing an unprecedented crisis, it's time to act, she says.

DANA ALFARDAN, QATARI COMPOSER: All of a sudden, there was this embargo and we were blockaded. I wanted to get this message of love and unity and togetherness out and I wanted to showcase the strength and our unwavering lovesick for a leader.

KARADSHEH: Along with some of Qatar's most known musical talents and a volunteer expatriate choir, they recorded the song, "One Nation."

ALFARDAN: Our home is being attacked and we've got to stand up for ourselves, we've got to stand up for it. We've got to take ownership of our messaging. We've got to take ownership of our narrative. We've got to get this out there.

KARADSHEH: Qataris, like their government, feel the demands by the Saudi-led alliance, they say, aim to strip it of its sovereignty. On the streets of Doha, it feels like national day, with what seem to be spontaneous shows of support for the country's leadership.

The latest, this wall with the emir's now iconic image, where people leave messages of support and patriotism.

Ten-year old Haya (ph), perhaps too young to understand the politics behind this, says she is here to express her love for the emir and is proud of her country.

MAYA AL KUWARI (PH), QATARI CITIZEN: Under this crisis, this blockade, it's brought us together. And to see people do this by -- from the grassroots, from the bottom up, because it's not forced by the government. So it's -- I don't know. I long to be here, be with everyone.

KARADSHEH: We're told the poster was put up by a Qatari businessman.

AL THANI: During the crisis, our government, I think they have done very well in handling the situation and providing a continued normal life for people, for maintaining the standard of living in the country. So this is just the way for the people and for us to show our support to our government and to our leadership, who have really made us proud of them at this time of crisis.

KARADSHEH: This sense of national pride is a sure sign that Qatar will not be backing down anytime soon.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Doha.


VANIER: Back in the U.S. Donald Trump is away from the White House for the holiday weekend. He's spending time at his resorts in Bedminster, New Jersey. But he did return briefly Saturday night for an event at the Kennedy Center.

[03:10:04] The Celebrate Freedom concert was to honor U.S. veterans. The president took aim at one of his favorite targets -- the news media.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them because the people know the truth.


TRUMP: Because the people know the truth. The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I'm president and they're not.


TRUMP: The dishonest media will never keep us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of our great American people. It will never happen.


VANIER: On Saturday the president really went out of his way to keep alive an ongoing feud with two TV journalists.

Our Ryan Nobles has more.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The president of the United States started his holiday weekend early Saturday by tweeting about Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, continuing his feud with the MSNBC hosts. Trump tweeting, quote, "Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb-as-a-rock Mika are not bad people, but their low-rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad."

It wasn't the only thing the ;president tweeted about. He also went on a Twitter rampage accusing the media of trying to get in the way of his social media usage, suggesting that his Twitter feed is among the reasons that he is currently the president of the United States.

But there are many Republicans in Congress that are concerned about the president's use of Twitter and that it's getting in the way of his agenda, including some important things happening this week like his trip to Europe for the G-20 Summit and the debate over health care.

Still, his aides say the president is diligently working on health care. He is expected to make calls to lawmakers over the July 4th recess with the hope of coming to an agreement to repeal and replace Obamacare when they return on July 10th.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, at the White House.


VANIER: Larry Sabato joins us now.

Larry, you ran the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Let's start by -- just give me your opinion on the president's tweet. Another barrage of tweets by Donald Trump today.

LARRY SABATO, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, let's start by saying they're all unpresidential since he is now insisting that they are presidential. Other presidents and prime ministers around the world tweet, but they do so in a manner appropriate to their high station. That cannot be said of President Trump. Even many of his own supporters, members of his base, Republican activists, members of the House and the Senate they are criticizing the way that President Trump is using twitter. So it's really difficult to justify what he does and his obsession with his media coverage.

VANIER: But, wait, Larry, clearly the president has heard people like yourselves, whether it's pundits or politicians who've criticized his use of Twitter for being undignified or below the dignity of his office. He disagrees with you. And there's an answer. And his answer of course he tweeted out today. He says, "My use of social is not presidential, it's modern-day presidential. Make America great again."

So the president disagrees with you.

SABATO: Well, if he defines modern-day as beginning on January 20th, 2017 when he took the oath of office, I guess it does fit in because he's never changed. But to say that this is presidential is to defy every tradition that is associated with the American presidency.

I don't know many people who would agree, and by the way, that includes members of family and his staff. They've been trying to get him to stop and they now recognize it's impossible.

VANIER: But the core of his argument, again, is to be found on Twitter. And this is what he says. "I'm being told fake and fraudulent news media working hard to convince Republicans and others that I should not use social media. But I remember I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches, and social media. I had to beat fake news, and I did. We will continue to win."

So he's saying to people like you, I won this way.

SABATO: Well, he won. I think you can debate how much is due to Twitter. But to me that's not the question. He could be using --


VANIER: Isn't it, though?

SABATO: No, look, he can use Twitter, but why not use it about health care? Which he's desperately trying to pass or infrastructure, or tax reform? His presidency is going to be judged on these policies and what he's able to get enacted. Not on the barbs he sends our daily to specific news organizations or individuals he takes exception to.

[03:15:03] VANIER: OK. But so let me run with that argument, then. You're right, his presidency is probably going to be defined by the content, not so much his use of Twitter. So if he gets a win on health care which he still could, if he redraws the tax landscape, if he gets infrastructure done, then he'll have a successful presidency despite all this.

SABATO: Well, that's true. Of course, if ifs and were -- ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas. And his problem is that this tweeting is distracting even his helping his own supporters in Congress from helping him achieve his agenda.

VANIER: Is it really distracting them or is just distracting the media? SABATO: No, I think it's pretty clear. Look at what senior

Republicans had to say about his tweets concerning that program on MSNBC. They couldn't have been more critical. And what's interesting to me is that when you talk to the members who are more conservative, who didn't go on Twitter or who aren't even on Twitter, they're just as critical as the ones who did criticize Trump on Twitter.

VANIER: Yes. But again, I mean, it gets back to the same thing. The way Trump sees it is he can still win this way and ultimately if he gets win -- if he gets winds on his big legislative policy points then his use of Twitter, again, he'll be able to claim a win there.

SABATO: Well, he might be able to. But I'll tell you one thing he'll never win on, and that's in reuniting America, bringing Americans back together. He's been the most divisive president in modern times, and that's saying something because we've had other divisive presidents.

VANIER: Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia, thank u for joining u today. Thanks.

SABATO: Thank you, Cyril.

VANIER: Canada marked a major milestone on Saturday.




VANIER: Canadian prime minister Justine Trudeau there celebrating the nation's 150th anniversary. Stars like U2's Bono and The Edge were also on hand for festivities. So was Prince Charles. He was awarded the Order of Canada, a top civilian honor.

Now the country's head of state, Queen Elizabeth, celebrated Canada Day on Instagram. Notice the maple leaf brooch she's wearing.

As their country runs out of supplies, busloads of Venezuelans are heading across the border to feed their families. We'll have more on that after the break.

Stay with CNN.

And it's an archaeologist's paradise. The discovery of a sort of mini Pompeii during the excavation of Rome's newest subway line dating back 1800 years.


VANIER: We're learning that four more people have been killed in Venezuela as outrage continues to grow against the government.

[03:20:07] It's been almost three months of demonstrations demanding President Nicolas Maduro step down. But the rallies are becoming more dangerous. The death toll now stands at 86 people. That's as the country faces a devastating economic crisis.

People are standing in lines for hours as grocery stores run out food, water, and even as medicine grows scarce.

The latest protest involved Attorney General Luisa Ortega, a well- known critic of President Nicolas Maduro. She's been banned from leaving the country and her assets have been frozen.

Many Venezuelans are now turning to Colombia to get their basic supplies.

Here's our Leyla Santiago with a report from the border.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very busy and quite festive scene here in Bogota, Colombia where busloads of people come to the border of Colombia and Venezuela to buy very basic good. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans cross the border into this town to find the basic goods that they cannot find in their home country.

And inside the stores here in Colombia Venezuelans know that they count on this, they can count on store shelves be filled with the basics, pasta, rice, cooking oil, diapers. Things that they cannot find in their home country of Venezuela right now.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Bogota, Colombia.


VANIER: Hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the World Pride Parade in the Spanish capital on Saturday. Dozens of floats made their way down the streets of Madrid amid tight security. Madrid is just one of the cities celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights across the world.

Southeastern Europe is baking under intense heat this weekend. In Romania, authorities have issued a code orange because of the extreme temperatures.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us now.

Derek, what do we know?


VANIER: Derek Van Dam from the CNN International Weather Center, thank you very much.

And since you're telling us about Rome, we've got another story. Check this one out. While building Rome's third metro line, archeologists found a third century house destroyed by fire but very well preserved, complete with a central heating system, beams, and even the bones of a dog.

[03:25:08] CNN's Ben Wedeman takes a step back in time for this report.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scratch the surface in Rome and you find history. It's an archaeologist's paradise. But for officials overseeing the long- delayed construction of the city's newest subway line, Line C or Linea C, Rome's embarrassment of ancient riches is a curse that keeps on giving.

While digging a shaft for the subway's tunnel near the Colosseum late last year, workers uncovered what appeared to be the charred remains of a luxurious home, complete with central heating, dating back 1,800 years.

"It's an extraordinary situation," Rome's archeological superintendent Francesco Prosperetti tells me. "Collapse of the ceiling sealed everything inside. It was carbonized without being burned. It's unique in Rome."

The ceiling's wooden beams, which would have decayed to dust, have been preserved. There are no human remains but archaeologists did find the bones of a dog who wouldn't or couldn't flee the flames.

"This poor dog was already in the room during the fire," says archaeologist Simona Moretta (ph). "We found ashes under its paws. Probably part of the burning ceiling fell on it and there it was stuck and died."

Construction on Linea C didn't begin until 2007. And since then, work has been delayed by one archeological discovery after another.

(On camera): This is the challenge of trying to make life modern in an ancient city like Rome. No matter where you dig, you're almost certain to find something.

(Voice-over): Rome wasn't built in a day and its newest subway line won't be completed in a decade, maybe not even two. The future will have to wait as the past is uncovered.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


VANIER: Thank you very much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I will be back with the headlines in just a moment so stay with us.