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Trump versus the Media; Trump Holds Calls with Leaders of Japan and China; Battle for Mosul; What's App Becomes Syrian Mother's Lifeline; Qatar Remains Defiant; U.S. President to Meet with Putin at G20 Summit; Notorious Brazilian Drug Lord Arrested. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 3, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:07] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump wrestles with CNN in his latest tweet, capping a week of angry attacks against the media.

And working the phones, the U.S. President weighs in on Qatar's diplomatic crisis and calls the three leaders.

Plus, a CNN exclusive, we speak to a Syrian mother waiting in anguish as her daughter is trapped in an ISIS stronghold.

Hi, everybody. Thank you very much for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier live from the CNN Newsroom in Atlanta.

After days of heated attacks on the news media, the President takes to Twitter again and critics say this latest message could encourage violence. Donald Trump posted a video that shows him beating up a man whose face is covered by the CNN logo. The video then labeled CNN "Fraud News Network".

CNN released a statement saying the tweet was juvenile behavior, far below the dignity of the office.

At a faith rally on Saturday, Mr. Trump got applause from the crowd when he insisted his agenda would not be derailed by what he keeps calling fake news.

Our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter reports this latest controversy is raising deeper questions about the tone the White House is setting.



This anti-CNN video from the President of the United States has become one of his most popular tweets ever as measured by the number of people who are sharing it on Twitter. This is unlike anything we've really ever seen from President Trump or any American president fro that matter.

He's taken a video that seems to have come from the pro-Trump message boards of Reddit and then shared it on his own platforms to millions and millions of fans. It is an escalation in his long-running war against the media.

And that includes outlets like the "New York Times", the "Washington Post", recently the cast of MSNBC's "Morning Joe", and this network. CNN released a statement on Sunday responding to this Twitter video saying quote, "It is a day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters."

Now the statement referenced deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' recent comment that the President has never encouraged violence in any form. CNN's statement said quote, "Clearly Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead for preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his healthcare bill, he is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office."

The CNN statement ends by saying, "We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his."

Now, that kind of sentiment was echoed by some other journalists on Sunday, some Democratic lawmakers also weighed in criticizing the President for the violent tone of the video.

However, some of his supporters said this was all an overreaction, that the President was just having some fun; that this was an obviously humorous video and to be taken in that way. I can tell you, journalists at CNN and elsewhere are not laughing.

For example the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press weighed in saying this seemed like he was encouraging violence against reporters. I asked Twitter PR -- I asked Twitter public relations if this kind of tweet could violate the Twitter code of conduct, the terms of service that forbid hateful behavior, harassment and incendiary rhetoric and violence, things last that. Hours later Twitter said this tweet is not in violation of the terms of service.

Of course, it's an obviously newsworthy thing. Here's the President once again trying to delegitimize major news outlets. The target this time happens to be CNN but it's been other news outlets in the past.

The President seems to think this is to his advantage to be picking these kinds of fights and stoking these kinds of fires. And what we saw mostly on Sunday were his supporters definitely on his side and a whole lot of criticism from many other corners.

We'll see if he continues this in the week ahead. Of course, a busy week for the U.S. President -- traveling overseas, meeting the Russian president for the first time -- this is going to be a very busy week in the real world for him. We'll see if he keeps up the tweets in the virtual world.

Brian Stelter, CNN -- New York.


VANIER: All right. Let's get into this.

We have Ellis Henican with us, author of the "Trump's America" column for Metro Papers. Also with us Ben Ferguson, conservative political commentator for CNN, host of "The Ben Ferguson Show".

Ben -- first your reaction to Mr. Trump's latest tweet.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And this one actually I thought was pretty funny. I didn't think his tweets last week towards MSNBC and "Morning Joe" were appropriate. I thought they took away from his Legislative agenda.

But this one when I saw it, it actually made me laugh because it was funny. It was also a little bit self-deprecating. I mean you have the President that did a WWE wrestling moment. Somebody sent him a copy of that moment with the CNN on there.

[00:05:00] Everybody needs to relax and kind of laugh about it a little bit and realize, this is not the President inciting violence. This is not, you know, journalists should be terrified or afraid.

Sometimes there are things that happen that are funny. The same way that people on late night TV make fun of the President, he was making fun of some people that he thought had been giving him a hard time.

Let's all dial down the emotion and the rhetoric here and actually to say, you know what, this took about seconds and it was kind of funny.

VANIER: Ellis?

ELLIS HENICAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: If it was self-deprecating, I've got to tell you guys, I think it would be a first for Donald Trump. And I will tell you his audience did not take it like that.

When I first saw it, frankly, I thought that maybe Barron Trump had gotten his father's phone and was having his own juvenile -- but then I realized that Barron is going into 6th grade. So he's probably too old to do that kind of thing anymore.

Listen -- I am not worried for the safety of myself and my colleagues. We're all big boys and girls and we can handle that. It does provide though, honestly, another window into the infantile mind of our president.

And you know, it is kind of sad. I think the CNN statement is right about that. Don't worry, guys. Just pity the fellow.

VANIER: Yes, the CNN statement says it's a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters. So neither of you feel that's the case?



FERGUSON: No, I don't. Yes, I think we're going to be just fine and this was something that if you watch this -- first off, wrestling is fake. Everyone knows it's fake. Having this super-imposed on there is something that yes, you may not like it, but it's not saying go out there to attack somebody.

I mean, there have been people on TV today literally that have been saying, what is it going to take for the President to stop tweeting things like this -- a journalist being murdered? This wasn't advocating for that. Stop being so self-righteous and so self- important a lot of people in the media think that they're more important than average people --

VANIER: Hold on -- Ben. Ben.

Ben -- we're just a few weeks removed from a violent incident where a man picked up a gun and opened fire on congressmen --


VANIER: -- at the end of -- hold on. At the end of last year a man picked up a gun because he saw fake news about an alleged child sex ring in a pizzeria. He opened fire in the pizzeria. It was fake news.

So there is violence out there, you know.

FERGUSON: right. But this, this is obviously a fake wrestling video of WWE. There have been real calls for violence against the President including assassination from Johnny Depp. But guess what, I didn't see a bunch of journalists out there demanding that Disney fire Johnny Depp when he actually called for the actual assassination of the President.

So that's --


HENICAN: No, come on. Seriously, reel that part in. It's worst than that, honestly. I mean I don't worry so much about --


HENICAN: Ben -- hold on a second, Ben. It isn't the safety of our colleagues that we worry about. It's the fact that we've got a guy in the White House who considers that funny, right? I mean that is not the kind of humor that grown men or a grown president ought to think is just hilarious. It's stupid stuff -- really. It really is too young for Barron, isn't it?

VANIER: Gentlemen -- listen to Republican Senator Ben Sasse and what he made of it.


SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: There's an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage and the right that citizens have to argue about that and complain that and trying to weaponize distrust.

The First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment. And you don't get to separate the freedoms that are in there.


VANIER: Ben Ferguson, let me ask you that question a different way. Is this what was missing from politics? Is this what you want to see from a Republican president?

FERGUSON: Look, I said this earlier. I think that at some point you have to ask yourself, any time you're tweeting and you're an elected official, was it worth it? I don't think this tweet and I don't think the tweets last week were worth it because it took the President off message and it allowed the media to cover him in a different way than the actual things he was focused on -- health care reform, that border security, having that travel ban partially be imposed at 8:00 the other night.

Instead they were talking about tweets. So, I would say to the President, it's not worth it. You need to think about that because ultimately what people elected you to do was to lead on these issues and that's what they care about. They're not going to re-elect you because of a tweeting war that you have with anybody.

But again, this one this morning was nothing I think more than someone that saw something that was funny and they decided that they would tweet it, especially after feeling like they've been getting a raw deal lately.

I'm not saying I would have tweeted it but I think people acting as if somehow this is world war III against the media. The media sometimes takes themselves, I think -- and I'm in the media -- a little bit too, make themselves a little bit too more important than they really are.

VANIER: Ellis I want to ready to you again the last part of the CNN statement. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his. How do you feel about that?

HENICAN: Yes. It's a very nicely written dig, I could say as a writer.

[00:09:58] You know, I go back and forth on whether this is a purposeful strategic thing that the President is doing to try and divert attention from less pleasant more serious subjects and whether it's just his id running wild.

And I guess tweet by tweet, day by day we have to bounce back and forth. I think this one was more the id than any strategy. But I'm with Ben on this. Why don't we get back to being president, sir?

VANIER: Ellis Henican, Ben Ferguson -- pleasure to have you both on the show. Thank you very much.

HENICAN: Good seeing you guys always.

VANIER: Thanks.

And President Trump is keeping busy this holiday weekend. He held back to back phone calls with the leaders of China and Japan on Sunday night. With both he discussed the North Korea nuclear threat.

A Japanese spokesman says Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that they would work with South Korea to step up pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear program. The White House says Mr. Trump also brought this up with Chinese President Xi Jinping along with the two nations' commitment to a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile a U.S. Navy destroyer has sailed within 20 kilometers of a disputed island in the South China Sea. That's inside waters that China claims as its territory. A U.S. military official says it was part of a freedom of navigation exercise.

Let's to get into it with Alexandra Field who is live from Beijing.

Alexandra -- once again, we are seeing Donald Trump trying to get regional support to help address North Korea's nuclear program.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That has been the strategy all along, Cyril. And you've seen repeated discussions with the partners that he's identified in the region to make that -- South Korea, Japan and of course, China, which is where the President's focus has largely been.

He, of course, looks at China as the country that has the most leverage over North Korea, that's economic leverage therefore giving China the most power to work to rein in the regime. But lately it seemed President Trump expressing frustration with China's efforts, tweeting about a week or so ago that he felt that the Chinese efforts were failing.

He had two calls on the agenda today -- a call with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, also a call with Shinzo Abe in Japan. We knew the topic of both of these would be talking about denuclearization on the peninsula.

Few details really though have trickled out about the tone, the tenor, the color of these calls. We do know this from the White House. They released a statement saying that President Trump raised a growing threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Both leaders -- he's referring to Abe there -- reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Similar sort of read out from the call with President Xi Jinping. Of course, if you've been following the situation closely, you would wonder more about what that conversation with Xi Jinping may have been like.

Remember, these are two leaders who've been talking for months now Cyril about the close and warm relationship they have developed but has seen in recent days or weeks that that relationship could be cooling as the U.S. expresses some frustrations and as North Korea continues its accelerated ambitions when it comes to both its missile program and its nuclear program -- Cyril.

VANIER: Yes, Alexandra -- tell us a little bit more about that. As you say the relationship seems to be cooling. It seems to be souring. This despite a very positive start when Donald Trump welcomed Xi Jinping to the U.S. it seemed that it was getting off to a great start. And now, not so much.

FIELD: Yes, the U.S. has really said that its first and best choice in terms of dealing with North Korea would be to work diplomatically through China. That's the best case scenario, although we do know and we continue to report that the President has been briefed on any military options that would be available when it comes to dealing with North Korea. That's a scenario of last resort, though.

This is something that needs to be and wants to be handled diplomatically by the administration. Of course, for the safety and security of the region and, of course, the U.S. troops who are stationed in the region both in South Korea and in Japan.

And you did have this warm relationship that had been talked about, but then it seemed that there is a bit of a breakdown that may have been happening or perhaps President Trump was starting to apply more pressure to Beijing.

It started with that tweet that I earlier referenced about President Trump saying that the Chinese efforts were falling short or failing. And then you saw a series of other movements from D.C. that appeared to be aimed at provoking Beijing.

China was downgraded to a list of some of the worst human traffickers in the world. There were sanctions from the U.S. on a Chinese bank. There was a weapons sale to Taiwan that was approved by the Trump administration.

And then most recently now, this word that a U.S. Navy destroyer had sailed close to an island in the South China Sea that is claimed by China. The U.S. disputes that claim but China and Beijing officials furious about that today, and making that known -- Cyril.

VANIER: Alexandra Field, live from Beijing. Thank you very much.

And it's going to be a very busy international diplomacy week for Mr. Trump. He'll be attending the G-20 summit in Germany where he is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We'll have more on that relationship, what we can expect from that meeting in about 20 minutes in the show.

Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM:


[00:14:57] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As coalition forces circle the ISIS capital in Raqqa, Syria -- somewhere in the city, a daughter records messages for her mother a world away in the Netherlands. She begs for help, whispers for rescue from ISIS and airstrikes. Her mother weeps as she listens.


VANIER: Short, simple messages that mean the world to a mother. The messaging tool What's App is nothing short of a life line for this one Syrian family.

Plus Qatar gets a little more time but its leaders do not seem too open to the list of demands made by their Gulf neighbors. We'll ask an expert about the showdown after the break.


VANIER: Welcome back.

For several years, residents of Mosul have lived under the brutal, unrelenting rule of ISIS. Well, now we're going to show you something that many of them may have not thought possible until right now. Scenes of celebration, as soldiers and civilians alike anticipate the fall of ISIS any moment now.

The military has been making key gains against the terror group in Mosul's old city and troops are now fighting on a street by street basis.

[00:19:57] It could also soon be the end game for ISIS in Syria. According to activists U.S.-backed forces are pushing into the city that ISIS considers its capital -- that's Raqqa. Washington is backing the Syrian Democratic Forces, the SDF who are being supported by airstrikes.

However, military strategy can mean very little when your life is in constant danger and that's the reality for many civilians trapped in Raqqa. It's an agony also felt by loved ones overseas.

In this exclusive report, Atika Shubert meets a woman now living in the Netherlands whose life line to her daughter is the messaging service What's App.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As coalition forces circle the ISIS capital in Raqqa, Syria somewhere in the city a daughter records messages for her mother, a world away in the Netherlands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom I have nightmares. I dream that they come after me to kill me. I see them everywhere.

SHUBERT: And she begs for help, whispers for rescue from ISIS and airstrikes. Her mother weeps as she listens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get me out of this horrible situation. Get me out of here. I beg you. SHUBERT: Huafa (ph) is not the mother's real name. She does not want to be identified, fearing ISIS will target her daughter. But her voice is enough to understand the horror of life in Raqqa.

HUAFA (through translator): When you go to the market to buy food and other things, you see a hand here, a leg here, a head there that ISIS has left. We used to drink coffee there. Now, it's full of bodies.

SHUBERT: Huafa (ph) has already lost one daughter to the sea when she fled for Greece. The boat sank, and the little girl drowned. She was two and a half years old. Her body washed up on the shore months later now buried on the Greek island of Chios.

Now Huafa is determined not to lose her eldest daughter in Raqqa, to get her out. The 23-year-old had tried to leave but ISIS arrested then beheaded her husband. Her son Huafa's first grandchild, is almost two years old.

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

SHUBERT: You've never seen your grandson before.

HUAFA: 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.

SHUBERT: But when you see those photos and you get those messages, it gives you hope that it might be possible.

HUAFA: When I see the pictures, my heart breaks into pieces. There is no hope. The only hope is her voice. The only hope I have are their voices.

SHUBERT: You cannot see her face but Huafa weeps as she talks. She clutches at her phone and her heart, filled with hope and dread at every new message. She doesn't respond straightaway but only once her voice is steady.

HUAFA: Sweetie, the most important thing is that you take care of yourself and Adai. And God willing, as I promised, I will come and get you. God will come and get you. And we will see each other again. Stay strong.

SHUBERT: A mother's plea, only one voice of so many struggling to be heard amid the terrifying noise of war.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We moved to another place today. I don't know when I'll be able to get online again. The army (ISIS), is all over the place.

SHUBERT: Atika Shubert, CNN -- Netherlands.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone to three Gulf leaders on Sunday regarding the diplomatic showdown that's left Qatar isolated. That's after Qatar was granted a little more time by its neighbors to decide if it wants to agree to a list of demands.

So far leaders in Doha have remained defiant. Some of the requests include shutting down al Jazeera's TV network, paying hefty reparations, curbing ties with Iran and closing a Turkish air base.

Mehran Kamrava joins us now. He's a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Qatar. He is also the university's director of the Center for International and Regional Studies.

Sir, Qatar's been given two more days to comply with those demands. Is there any area for compromise in those demands?

[00:25:01] MEHRAN KAMRAVA, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY QATAR: I sincerely doubt it. I think there are larger goals behind the demands. There are some areas where Qatar might be able to give, for example, Hamas whose leadership is currently in Doha, could conceivable find another home, either in Iran or in Turkey or somewhere else in the region.

But I think demands such as the closure of al Jazeera, the payment of reparations, and a number of other demands were really made not to be met, they're untenable.

VANIER: So that's exactly what the Qatari foreign minister has been saying, that those demands weren't even made to be met, as you say. So if that's the case, then where is this headed?

KAMRAVA: Well, I think we're headed for some sort of a showdown. I think it was the Kuwaitis that asked for a 48-hour extension. I think the next step is likely to be a ratcheting up of pressure on Qatar. For example --

VANIER: What kind of pressure?

KAMRAVA: Well, the Emirates have already threatened to punish businesses that conduct business in Qatar by denying them contracts. And so for example, that could be one of the pressure points exerted on Qatar.

VANIER: How long could Qatar hold out in that case? Because if you're going toe to toe with Saudi Arabia, you know, as far as your final reserves, that's a tough proposition.

KAMRAVA: Well, Qatar has a number of ways, has a number of tools in its toolbox to withstand the pressure. For example, it's got robust investments, it has healthy foreign reserves. And now, it is getting supplies, food stuffs and other essential goods from Turkey and Iran. So it can withstand.

It's the Qatari business community that is suffering, a business community that has multiple roots in places like Dubai and in Saudi Arabia. And I think that's the critical point. How long will the business community in Qatar remain behind the government's position?

VANIER: Sir, it was put to me recently that Saudi Arabia can outlast Qatar in this competition, if you will, because the prices of gas and oil are low. That hurts both of them, however, given the vast resources of Saudi Arabia and given the financial resources they have, they money they have, they can outlast Qatar in this.

KAMRAVA: No doubt, absolutely. Saudi Arabia has a much more complex and much more robust economy than Qatar whose biggest limitation is size. So Saudi Arabia couldn't -- and for that matter United Arab Emirates could definitely outlast Qatar.

I think, it's not necessarily though a question of oil reserves because much of Qatar's foreign revenue comes through the sale of liquefied natural gas.

VANIER: But the price of gas is down as well.

KAMRAVA: The price of natural gas is down as well but those contracts are usually 20 or 30 year contracts. So, for the time being I think Qatar can withstand the pressure.

But you're absolutely right in that Qatar is subject to far more intense pressure right now than Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

VANIER: Mehran Kamrava -- thank you very much for joining us on the show. A pleasure to speak with you today.

KAMRAVA: Thank you.

VANIER: Coming up on the show, after the break, a look at the history between the U.S. and Russian president. How this week's G-20 summit might not be their first meeting.

And later, despite surgically altering his appearance, police have arrested the most wanted man in South America. A live report on his notorious empire and how the caught him after 30 years of evading police.


[00:32:43] VANIER: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier with your headlines this hour.

The U.S. president is doubling down on his heated attacks on the news media. Donald Trump posted an old video of himself hitting a man at a wrestling match. The man's face is now covered with the CNN logo. In response, CNN said, "It's a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters."

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone a short time ago. Mr. Abe agreed to step up pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and the Chinese and U.S. presidents reaffirmed their commitments to a denuclearized Korean peninsula. The second launch of China's newest heavy lift rocket has failed, dealing a blow to the country's space goals. Chinese state media reports that an anomaly was detected during the rocket's flight. The Long March 5 rocket was carrying an experimental satellite at the time.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is raising his country's minimum wage for a third time this year as outrage against his government grows. The country is facing crippling inflation with many people running out of basic necessities. Over the weekend, four more people were killed during violent demonstrations.

U.S. President Donald Trump has a busy week ahead on the world stage. He is set to meet face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany.

He will also hold talks with central and Eastern European leaders in Poland. Trump administration officials tell CNN the U.S. president is not expected to raise the issue of election meddling with Mr. Putin, but will instead focus on Syria and Ukraine.

Here's our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): President Trump has a full agenda this week before he even sits down with President Putin.

It's Poland on Wednesday to take part in a gathering of leaders from Central Europe and the Balkans to boost regional trade. The president wants to promote U.S. natural gas exports there, but that is making European leaders a bit nervous.

They see President Trump as supporting the right wing nationalist government in Poland and its disputes with the E.U. And when he arrives in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday for the G20, he could also be headed for a collision course with European leaders.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has predicted very difficult talks with the president over climate change and trade when the leaders meet.

[00:35:10] Since his last visit to Europe, the president has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement and repeatedly criticized Germany over its trade surplus.

And then of course there is that meeting with President Putin. Both sides are playing down expectations.

National security advisor H.R. McMaster has said there is no agenda, just what the president wants to talk about.

Obviously, everyone wants to know whether President Trump will bring up Russian meddling in the U.S. election, warn him not to do it again. I think we're more likely to see the leaders put the elections aside and move forward on issues like Syria and Ukraine. But the body language in that meeting is going to be very interesting and telling.

Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.


VANIER: Now, Mr. Trump's meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin will be their first face to face since the U.S. president took office. But it's a little unclear if they have actually met before now.

For more on that, here's Victor Blackwell.



I don't know who Putin is.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a claim President Donald Trump made many times during the campaign.

TRUMP: I never met Putin.

I don't think I've ever met him. I don't think I've ever met him.

You would know it if you did.

BLACKWELL: The White House says next week's G-20 summit in Germany will offer the first opportunity for President Trump to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin face to face. However, all the denials contradict what candidate Trump said in an October 2015 radio interview.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you met Vladimir Putin?



TRUMP: One time, yes, a long time ago.

BLACKWELL: Mr. Trump did not say during that interview when or under what circumstances the two men met. Days before their meeting in Hamburg, there are several unsettled opposing claims about their history. The White House says Trump and Putin have spoken by phone at least three times since the 2016 election, but on conversations before the election, more contradictions.

In July 2016, candidate Trump said this.

TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Putin. I have never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me.

BLACKWELL: Well, that contradict what he said two years earlier.

TRUMP: I was in Moscow recently. And I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin who could not have been nicer.

BLACKWELL: During the campaign, candidate Trump denied any relationship with Putin.

TRUMP: I have no relationship with him other than he called me a genius.

BLACKWELL: But when asked about their relationship in 2013 MSNBC interview, another contradiction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, a conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?

TRUMP: I do have a relationship.

BLACKWELL: The G20 Summit begins on Friday.

Victor Blackwell, CNN, Atlanta.


VANIER: Still to come, a drug lord who spent decades on the run gets caught. What he did to evade authorities over the years?


[00:40:00] VANIER: Brazilian police say they have finally arrested notorious crime boss Luiz Carlos da Rocha. Police say he spent decades evading authorities by using fake names and getting plastic surgery to change his face.

Rafael Romo has more on the da Rocha's vast empire.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: His real name is Luiz Carlos da Rocha, but he was also known by his alias "Cabeza Blanca" or white head in Portuguese.

According to the Brazilian federal police, he was one of the most wanted traffickers by the federal police in Interpol in South America.

Da Rocha was caught during a massive police operation Saturday. As many as 150 officers participated in the operation dubbed spectrum, a reference to the leader of the criminal organization who lived in the shadows and evaded police for about 30 years.

Brazilian officials say operation spectrum has in their words, dismembered the core in command of Da Rocha's criminal group.

Agents confiscated aircraft to luxury cars, farms, houses and other property worth nearly $10 million.

Da Rocha is notorious for several reasons. According to Brazilian police, he was the leader of an extensive drug trafficking organization that produced cocaine in the jungles of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru to then be distributed in other Latin American countries as well as the United States and Europe.

Police also say that Da Rocha went as far as undergoing plastic surgery to alter his facial appearance so that he wouldn't be recognized.

According to authorities his criminal organization operated as a business enterprise methodically taking care of every aspect of cocaine production and distribution.

Police say he would traffic as much as 5 tons of cocaine per month. Brazilian officials believed he amassed the fortune of about $100 million through his cocaine trafficking empire. If convicted, Whitehead faces 50 years behind bars.

Rafael Romo, CNN.


VANIER: A volcano in Mexico has erupted sending a massive column of ash and smoke into the sky. The cloud you can see here rose to more than 6500 feet, around 2000 meters.

Authorities have issued precautions to residents in the area to help protect them from any danger. They are being told to cover their faces, keep windows closed and cover up drinking water stored in containers.

And about 800 kilometers away from that volcano, a one of a kind wedding took place on Mexico's Pacific Coast. Interestingly enough, the bride wore white. That's the only reason that's unusual -- there you go. That's why it's unusual. That's the bride. The crocodile.

Her name is Princess and her husband is the Village Mayor. They tied the knot in keeping with an indigenous tradition. The ritual is supposed to guarantee a plentiful harvest and a good catch for the fishermen. No word on whether Princess cried crocodile tears of joy.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. "World Sports" is up next.