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NY Times: Trump's Son Met with Russian Lawyer After Being Informed of Damaging Info on Clinton; Fire at London's Camden Market; White House: Trump Doesn't Believe Putin's Denial; Iraq Declares Mosul Liberated From ISIS Control; Extreme Weather Across Western U.S. & California Wildfires; Paris & Los Angeles In All-Out Competition to Host 2024 Olympics; Trump's Taj Mahal Casino Holds Liquidation Sale. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 10, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump Jr. met with the Russian lawyer last year after being told she had damaging information on Hillary Clinton. We'll be discussing the details of the New York Times report that broke the story. And Mosul declared liberated. Iraqi authorities say only a few dozen ISIS fighters are left in the city. Plus, parts of London's famed Camden Market go up in flames; we'll be on the ground. Hi, everybody! Thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier in Atlanta. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

We begin with breaking news. The New York Times is reporting that U.S. President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., met with the Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. The Times says the meeting took place on June Ninth of last year; that's two weeks after Donald Trump clinched the Republican Presidential nomination. This is the first public indication that at least some in the Trump campaign were willing to accept Russian help. Donald Trump, Jr. has provided CNN with the following statement:

"I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual, who I was told, might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend but told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous, and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.

She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children, and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along, and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official but rather a private citizen and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office. The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events."

A member of President Trump's outside legal team tells CNN, the President was not aware of this meeting and did not attend it. Now, the Russian lawyer at that meeting told the New York Times that nothing about the U.S. Presidential campaign was discussed. But the wider context, of course, is that U.S. federal investigators are currently looking into the extent of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Let's get more now from CNN's Elise Labott.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump Jr. says that he and two other Senior Members of the Trump team met a year ago with a Russian lawyer who claimed she had damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Now, he says the meeting was set up by an acquaintance from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that was held near Moscow. And that acquaintance told Trump Jr. that the individual might have information helpful to the campaign. Now, Trump Jr. said he was not told the name of the person prior to the meeting, but he did invite Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort.

Now, this person turned out to be a Russian lawyer who started the meeting saying she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee to help Hillary Clinton. Now, Trump Jr. has said this woman didn't bring any evidence, saying her statements were "vague, ambiguous and made no sense." And he said he quickly realized that she was using Hillary Clinton as a pretext to talk about U.S. policy. Now, the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, formed a group who was purporting to seek the removal of an adoption ban on Russian children to the U.S. that was put in place years ago as retaliation for an American law passed in 2012.

Now, that law is known as the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions over Senior Russian officials thought to have violated human rights. And this Veselnitskaya has also sought the repeal of that legislation and that is what she wanted to talk about. Now, Trump Jr. says he quickly ended the meeting at that point, saying that the issue would be better addressed if his father won the election. But the Trump Jr. never reported the meeting, but it does seem to be an early indication that Russians were seeking out members of the Trump campaign.

Now, we haven't been able to reach Ms. Veselnitskaya, but she did tell The New York Times that she was not asking on behalf of the Russian government. She said she never discussed the matters with any government representative, but again, she is known as someone who had worked to try and repeal this U.S. legislation, damaging to Russian officials. And this could be of interest to Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, whose investigation is looking into contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, and allegations of collusion, which President Trump has denied.


[01:05:54] VANIER: To discuss all this, we're joined by: Ellis Henican, Author of the "Trump's America" column in Metro Papers; Ben Ferguson is with us also, a CNN Commentator, Host of the "Ben Ferguson Show"; and we have Troy Slaten, a Criminal Defense Attorney and former Prosecutor. We'll want to hear his perspective, of course, that's important. But let's go first to Ben. Is there anything about what you learned today about that meeting that bothers you?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN COMMENTATOR AND HOST: No. Look, when you're running a transition and after you've gone in, and you've actually won the nomination for your party, you have an awful lot of meetings and an awful lot of phone calls with an awful lot of people. To have a conversation with somebody that says that they may have some information that you want to know about your opponent is very normal. And I'm sure there were plenty of meetings with people that said the same thing about Donald Trump with Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Also, the core of this meeting, actually, seemed to be revolving around the issue of adoptions and how Vladimir Putin had shut off all adoptions from all Americans, even some that were on their way to pick up their child in Russia. That's the majority of what this conversation was about. So, I think this is another example of really big, exciting buildup from many in the press that want this to be a smoking gun. And a week from now, this is going to be yet again another non-issue, because it isn't any issue of collusion.

VANIER: Ellis?

ELLIS HENICAN, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST AT METRO PAPERS: Here's the problem with it. This is not just some generic campaign meeting at any moment in the campaign. This is involving a topic that is right now at the very center of a serious investigation about the Russians stealing our election. For months now, people connected in the Trump campaign have insisted there were no such meetings, they never met with any Russians, and they never had any conversations about this.

And by the hour, we're learning more disturbing details about this one. Not only did it involve top people in the campaign, not only did they discuss campaign issues, not only did they were there to hear trash about Hillary Clinton, not only did this Russian Attorney is deeply connected to the Putin government, but all of it together was previously denied. So yes, we don't know all the details, but man, it stinks.

VANIER: Let me bring in the lawyer in the room here. Troy Slaten, how does an attorney look at this?

TROY SLATEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: Even if every single thing that Ellis said is true, it doesn't constitute a federal crime or any crime for that matter.

VANIER: Right.

SLATEN: Collusion, in and of itself, is not a federal crime, unless we're talking about, you know, anti-trust, and tipsters, things like that. So, unless somebody from the Trump campaign colluded in order to hack into the DNC, in order to hack into John Podesta's e-mails, in order to commit some sort of federal crime, then it really doesn't matter. And campaigns are permitted to do what's called opposition research. And that gets information about the other side.

VANIER: Troy, just before we get to the opposition research, collusion is not illegal? Like if you're trying to collude with a foreign government to change the result of a U.S. Presidential Election, that's not illegal?

SLATEN: No, that's a different thing. So, when we talk about colluding to change an election, what you're saying is --

VANIER: That's what we're talking about here.

SLATEN: Were people on the Trump campaign trying to win? Of course. Were people on the Hillary Clinton campaign trying to win? Of course. Were they trying to get information and collude with anyone they could to get information about the other side? Absolutely. That's not a crime. It's a crime to hack. It's a crime to go into someone else's computer system, but to get information about the other side to try and win? That, in and of itself, is not a crime.

FERGUSON: Let me also say --

VANIER: Then --

FERGUSON: OK. Go ahead.

VANIER: Go ahead.

FERGUSON: I was just going to say this. This is, I think, a number like 28 or 29 since the obsession with Russia has come out, and people are saying, finally, we have the fire, not just the smoke anymore. The reality is, you have an individual that says they have information on Hillary Clinton they would like to share with you. You're running against Hillary Clinton. You take that meeting. And guess what? Hillary Clinton's campaign took those meetings from plenty of people that knew Donald Trump. It is very normal if someone says that they have something that you might want to see that you go and have that meeting.

Now, there's nothing in this meeting that would even come close to the actual issue of collusion. So, Democrats keep overplaying this. At some point, there's -- and I think we're beyond that point. The only people that are getting rich off of this are the lawyers that are being hired to investigate a non-story, where there is no collusion. And they're making millions of dollars off the taxpayers, grandstanding in Congress where Democrats are using this for political purposes when there is no collusion. Remember, not one Democrat on any of those committees have said they've seen anything that remotely looks like collusion. So, they're wasting taxpayer's dollars here.

[01:10:42] VANIER: All right. But Ben, then again, the Special Counsel who's investigating this has only just started his work not that long ago. And you know that that can drag on; it can mask quite a long time.

FERGUSON: Look at the billable hours. There are a lot of people that have been working on this a long time. And again, Top Democrats have said that they have seen nothing, and I'm not talking about Republicans saying this, I'm talking about every Top Democrat that has been asked and said they've seen no evidence of collusion.

VANIER: But what about, what about the fact -- in fact, let me get to Ellis for this. What about the fact that this shows that Members of Trump's inner circle, and this case, his son, and also his Campaign Adviser at the time, Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were willing to accept Russian help.

HENICAN: Well, boy, that sure is interesting. Let's see if I can unpack some of these denials. First of all, the only standard isn't whether federal crimes have been committed. There are awful lot of things we'd like to know about this that may be really, really important, really interesting that doesn't mean that these specific individuals committed a crime --

FERGUSON: Of course. Ellis, you may --

HENICAN: Hold on a second. What you guys are disregarding is the reality of any complex investigation, which is not that anyone fact seals the deal, but added up together, they produce a pattern of behavior that is truly, maybe illegal, maybe just scandalous. But boy, we've got to know more about it.

FERGUSON: That means you're stretching.

HENICAN: No, we don't set (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: Ben, listen to the U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Was there any contact in any way between Trump or his associates and the Kremlin or cutouts they have?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I joined this campaign in the summer and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people. We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country.


WALLACE: I'm just trying to get an answer.

PENCE: Of course, not. Why would there be any contacts between the campaign? Chris, this is all a distraction, and it's all a part of a narrative to delegitimize the election and to question the legitimacy of this presidency.


VANIER: So, Ben, I suppose the question --

FERGUSON: Let me say this. VANIER: Go ahead.

FERGUSON: I agree with the Vice President there.

VANIER: This was in January, by the way. Just for our viewers, this back in January.

FERGUSON: Correct. But let's be clear about what he's talking about here. This individual who they met with was a friend of someone who is looked at as an attorney. This is not someone that represents Russia. This is not someone that is registered from what I've been told as a foreign agent. This --

VANIER: She works for state-owned companies.

FERGUSON: Again, let me -- No. No, wait. Wait.

VANIER: Hold on. Hold on. Let's give the facts. She works for state-owned Russian companies.

FERGUSON: Not solely. Not exclusively.

VANIER: Not exclusively. Among her portfolio of clients, there are Russian state-owned companies, there is the son of a prominent Russian figure, as well as several other prominent Russian figure. I mean, you can't just discard those facts.

FERGUSON: OK. I'm not discarding those facts, but I'm not allowing this to be turned into, somehow, this is only someone exclusively that works for Russians when that also is not true. You may have over your entire lifetime of her career two or three clients which are what the news reports have said, that are Russian clients. That doesn't mean that you're a Russian agent or even registered as a Russian agent. And again, you're meeting with someone who's a lawyer, who said I have information about Donald Trump.

If an American lawyer represents a Russian company on patent America, does that mean that now he works for the Russian government? No. It means he's a lawyer that happens to work on something that deals with somebody that is in Russia. Again, people are stretching so far on this to try to make collusion, to try to make it into something illegal. And I'll say it again, it's just not there.

VANIER: I mean, I think there are some questions out there that it is legitimate for us to ask. Before I come back to you --

FERGUSON: I don't mind that.

VANIER: Yes. Let me go back to Troy for a second. Is there anything that the lawyers of any of these people, whether it's Donald Trump Jr., or Jared Kushner, or Paul Manafort or for that matter the President? Is there anything that they need to be worried about with this New York Times article today?

SLATEN: If they made false statements with regard to their disclosures in order to obtain security clearances, that's a crime. Absolutely, and they should be worried about that.

VANIER: Well, we already know that Jared Kushner, for one, omitted several meetings from his father.

[01:15:06] SLATEN: There's a difference between an intentional omission and an accidental omission. These are very long forms that have very detailed questions that ask many, many things. And you're allowed to amend and revise things. And it's my understanding that he's done just that, that he's revised it. And the special counsel Bob Mueller here is going to be looking into federal crimes. And Ellis talks about well, these are maybe things that the American people should know about. That may be true. There's a difference between a political crime and something that everybody should know about, and maybe that's a decision to help them come next election, but there's a difference between that and something that is a crime.

[01:15:52] VANIER: Ben Ferguson, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you very much.

SALEM: Thanks for having us.

VANIER: And we'll have a lot more on this breaking news later in the show. You heard Donald Trump Jr.'s response to the report that he met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Later, you'll hear from Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager who talked to CNN earlier. This all comes on the heels of a face-to-face meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. During that conversation, President Trump brought up Russia's meddling in the election. Here's how he explains it in a tweet. "I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion. White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus said that President Trump believes that Russia hacked the elections.


REINCE PRIEBUS, CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE: He said they probably meddled in the election. They did meddle in the election. The one thing he also says that is an absolute fact is that others have, as well. And that's true. China has, North Korea has, and they have consistently over many, many years. So yes, he believes that Russia probably committed all of these acts that we've been told of, but he also believes that other countries also participated in this activity.


VANIER: But some Republicans don't buy that. Mr. Trump also tweeted about his meeting with Putin. He renegotiated a cease-fire in parts of Syria, which will save lives. Now it's time to move forward and working constructively with Russia. "Putin and I discussed forming a cyber security unit so the election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded." Other lawmakers were just bewildered by the idea that the President wants to work with Russia forming a cyber security unit to guard against election hacking. And in fact, the U.S. President himself seems to be backing away from

that idea now. Just a short while ago, he tweeted, "the fact that President Putin and I discussed a cyber security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't. But a cease-fire can and did."

After three years of ISIS atrocities in Mosul, Iraq is declaring the key city has been liberated. When we come back, we'll have the challenges that lie ahead to prevent future conflicts. Also later this hour, a massive fire at an iconic London landmark. The details are next. And later, Donald Trump's trash becomes another man's treasure. Stay with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.


[01:21:33] KATE RILEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORT Headlines. On Sunday, Everton confirmed that Wayne Rooney rejoins on a free transfer. He signed a two-year deal and leaves as a legend. And claiming his second career win at the Austrian Grand Prix, Sunday. He held off Sebastien. Red Bull's Danny Ricardo takes third place. He now extends his championship lead over Hamilton to 20 points.

This past week, cycling's toughest challenge lost the world challenge Peter Sagan, and Mark Cavendish who was injured in a crash. And Geraint Thomas is also out after a crash. It's a huge blow to Skyrider Chris Froome. Thomas is suffering from a broken collarbone. That's a look at all your Sports Headlines, I'm Kate Riley.

VANIER: A major military victory against ISIS in Mosul. Iraq is declaring the city has been liberated after three years of ISIS control. You see soldiers and civilians celebrating there. Even though fighting continued in small parts of the city, the government says the military will soon get rid of those pockets of resistance. Now the daunting task of rebuilding Mosul lies ahead. Our Jomana Karadsheh joins from Amman, Jordan. Jomana, when those remaining ISIS fighters are defeated, will this be the end of the battle against is in Iraq?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the recapture of Mosul is no doubt a major blow for ISIS and a major victory for the Iraqis. This is Iraq's second largest city. It was ISIS' symbolic capital in Iraq. But after the recapture of Mosul, they still control some territory in Iraq, whether it's in the North or in the vast Western Province of Anbar, that desert province where they still control territory there. And we have seen ISIS carry out quite frequently some attacks targeting the Iraqi security forces in that part of the country. An indication that they still have the capability and the ability to launch devastating attack. And that is a concern for so many Iraqis, when you talk to them, they are worried that after territory is retaken from Iraq, when ISIS is no longer controlling much territory, that it will revert back to its roots and carry out insurgent attacks in cities like Baghdad, for example. That have seen so many attacks by extremist groups over the years. So the end of ISIS in Mosul does not mean an end to ISIS in Iraq.

VANIER: Jomana, you told me earlier that Iraq has been here before. So what lessons can be learned from the past?

KARADSHEH: Well, you can trace back obviously the roots of ISIS back to Al-Qaeda and Iraq and the other group called the Islamic State of Iraq, ISI. And between 2007 and 2009, the Iraqis, with the help of the U.S. military, managed to push them back. But the grievances within the Sunni community that created that perfect incubator for extremist groups to thrive, to grow, those grievances were never really addressed.

The Sunni community felt marginalized, and that was one of the main factors that led to the rise of is in 2013 and 2014. Unless these grievances are really addressed, unless the Sunnis in Iraq feel that this is a new chapter in Iraq that the country has truly changed, that there is no reason to feel that they are marginalized and not part of the country, then you really still have those same factors. You still have the same circumstance that led to the rise of ISIS in the first place.

So the really tough task is ahead for the Iraqi Prime Minister, perhaps and the Iraqi government to make sure that they rebuild, stabilize these areas, and the most daunting of challenges is to try and restore and build trust between Iraq's different communities to make sure that ISIS does not exploit those sectarian divisions again.

[01:26:35] VANIER: All right, we'll have to keep an eye on the politics in Iraq. Jomana Karadsheh reporting live from Amman, Jordan, thank you very much. Still to come on the show, Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager responds to the New York Times story about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer. And later, there's tough competition, but the new French President is setting his sights on the Olympics. We'll tell you why he says Paris will be the perfect host.


VANIER: Welcome back, everyone.

Let's look at your headlines this hour.


VANIER: Let's bring you more now on the breaking news. "The New York Times" is reporting that U.S. President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr, met last year with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. A member of President Trump's outside legal team tells CNN the president was not aware of this meeting and did not attend.

CNN's Ana Cabrera spoke earlier with the former manager of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Robby Mook, and she asked him what his reaction was to the report.


ROBBY MOOK, FORMER MANAGER, HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN (via telephone): First of all, I think we need to start asking ourselves, and I think in particular Republican leaders in Congress have to ask when do we stop giving the benefit of the doubt? The evidence here of these close ties with Russia continue to mount each and every day. But then, secondly, what is particularly concerning to me is we are seeing it play out in actual policy. And you mentioned Don Jr was in the meeting. So was Jared Kushner, who is now a government employee. He's a senior adviser to the president, an official in the government. We saw the president propose this morning that the Russian government work with the United States to create some sort of cyber security entity for our elections, which is frightening. We've been reading that the president is doing everything that he can to stop a bipartisan bill to impose further sanctions on the Russians to punish them for intervening in our elections. At some point somebody needs to say enough is enough. And the Trump administration has to clean House. It has to get rid of conflicts of interest. And somebody has to step in and make sure that our foreign policy is not being overtaken by Russian influence.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You ran the Clinton campaign. If somebody told you that they had somebody who had damaging info on Donald Trump at that time, and they wanted you to meet this person, without knowing their name, would you go to that meeting? How would you handle it?

MOOK: Well, I think everybody needs to make judgment calls in these situations. What is scary about this particular situation is that the woman in question wasn't just anybody off the street. She was closely tied, is closely tied to the Kremlin. Was leading their efforts to repeal and stop a law, a bipartisan law, a bipartisan law, by the way, that had been passed to punish business people in Russia, who were suspected to be involved in the killing of a journalist there, restricted their ability to travel to this country and blocked their ability to participate in our banking system. This wasn't just anybody. This was an advocate and a voice for Vladimir Putin. And so any time somebody representing a foreign government comes to you claiming to assist you, you know, in punishing your opponent, when obviously the Putin administration had a clear interest -- clear antagonism towards Hillary Clinton, rather, that should have paused them.

But what's interesting and frightening about what's happened here, too, is these same individuals said they never met with the Russians. Only months later, as an investigation is going on, with some experienced prosecutors, all of a sudden, this new information is coming out.

So, yes, there are real questions about why they took the meeting. But also, why didn't they have to reveal that they had this meeting?


[01:35:07] VANIER: Dozens of firefighters have brought a massive fire at London's Camden Market under control. This was the scene earlier as they worked to douse the flames. They managed to put it out. But authorities are saying crews will dampen down the site until morning to keep it from re-igniting.

CNN's Phil Black joins us from London.

Phil, how did it start and what happened?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, we don't know what the cause is just yet. It's a little too early for that, authorities say. But those pictures posted to social media overnight, video stills, and they show that big, orange glow. That's why authorities say this fire was visible across a wide area.

The emergency calls started coming in around midnight, local time. The firefighters responded with some 75 firefighters in all, 10 fire engines. They battled the blaze for about three hours. It was around 3:30 local time that they declared the fire to be out. They've been working ever since then, dealing with the smoldering embers that continues in the building to make sure there are no further issues, the fire doesn't take hold once more.

Crucially, the authorities here say there are no reported injuries as a result of this fire -- Cyril?

VANIER: Phil, when we hear about fires now in central London, obviously, one's mind jumps to the Grenfell Tower fire and the horrible death toll there. There are no connections. I assume this is a totally different scenario here.

BLACK: It's a fire in the middle of the night. In that case, there's a similarity. But that's where they end. This is not a residential building. It is certainly not a high-rise building. The fire behaved in such way the firefighters were able to get on top of it relatively quickly. That, as we know, is not what happened with the Grenfell fire. It spread and moved so rapidly in such an unpredictable way. And that's why there was that terrible human cost associated with that. A reminder there, authorities estimated at least 80 people died in that fire and they said it will be many months before they know precisely what that final death toll was. In this case, no injuries.

This is Camden Market, a heavily populated area during the day, because it's probably one of London's best-known market areas. But at that time, in the middle of the night, just going on to midnight, just coming into Monday morning, there wouldn't have been too many people around here. So as a result, no one hurt.

There was a big fire in this exact same area back in 2008. A bigger fire, more damage. This is a business area, so when the fires take hold here, they damage people's businesses and livelihoods. There will be some concern that a fire was able to take place in this same area again -- Cyril?

VANIER: Phil Black, in London City Center.

It's fortunate there were no casualties.

Thank you very much. Phil reporting live from London.

Extreme weather conditions across the western U.S. We'll have an update on the heat and wildfires plaguing California when we come back.

Also, for 20 years, J.K. Rowling has been bringing magic to children everywhere. She and sat down with our Christiane Amanpour to discuss how she's helping kids now.


[01:41:27] VANIER: A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia, Canada, due to a large number of wildfires in the area.

Further south, thousands on California's coast have been forced to flee their homes due to several growing wildfires there, too. More than 3100 hectares have burned in Santa Barbara County since the Whittier Fire started Saturday. Thousands of people have been evacuated, including dozens of campuses. Meanwhile, further north, a bigger blaze known as the Alamo Fire has destroyed almost 10,000 hectares.

Meteorologists warn extremely high temperatures, isolated thunderstorms, but little chance of real rain could increase the possibility of more fires.

Pedram Javaheri joins us live from the CNN Weather Center -- Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Cyril, this is the ingredients here in place for fire weather at their finest. When you look at the perspective, it is very hot and dry and we have enough instability to ignite some thunderstorms. But because it's so dry at the surface, anything that falls is going to be dry. Lightning strikes are going to be problematic, as well. There are a significant number of fires in the western United States, I believe exceeding 34 now, almost all of them west of Colorado, out towards parts of California and Washington State and British Columbia as well. But the perspective is impressive when you look at the lack of rainfall in this region. We're talking about an area that's seen tremendous rainfall in the beginning part of the year, but going on past 63, 61 and 53 days of some of these western U.S. Cities have not seen a single drop of rain. So a dry situation compared to how wet it was in the beginning of the year. So a tremendous drop off of the moisture in the atmosphere. Some of this is normal, but you take a look, 72 record temperatures set around the western U.S. just this past weekend. And that is impressive in and of itself. In fact, 17,000 record highs have been set so far in 2017 versus around 4,300 record lows, that is a 4-1 ratio favoring heat, and that's continued for over 24 months in the United States. Here is what it looks like Monday afternoon. Scattered, going to see pockets of dry thunderstorms. That is a major problem. A phenomena called the pyro cumulus thunderstorms set up shop here. What happens is with extreme heat at the ground level, you're beginning to see that air want to rise and cool off. As it does, some of the moisture from the trees as they're burning evaporates, so you're creating clouds above these areas of fires. Then thunderstorms, but because it's so dry, the moisture doesn't make it to the surface, the lightning strikes do and ignite more fires. So this is a major issue across the United States because of the extensive nature of the wildfires behavior across this region -- Cyril? VANIER: Pedram Javaheri, from the CNN Weather Center, thank you very


I want to show you some amazing video out of the U.S. state of Kansas. Pedram would have liked this. In fact, it is a time lapse of a long- lived super cell that tracked across the northwestern part of the state dropping large hail. This was captured by a storm chaser in Russell Springs, Kansas. You can also see the stunning light show produced by the lightning strikes from the super cell. And from CNN's weather radar, you can see the same super cell merged with another one. There you go. Those are the pictures.

British author, J.K. Rowling, conjured a magic world that's delighted audiences for 20 years. With her global success from the "Harry Potter" series, Rowling has been able to pursue another passion, ending child institutionalization through her charity.

She sat down with CNN's Christiane Amanpour for an exclusive interview.


[01:45:33] J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR: Our ambition is to end child institutionalization by 2050. That's the ambition.


ROWLING: All over the world, global.

AMANPOUR: How many kids are we talking about?

ROWLING: We estimate there are eight million children in institutions worldwide. But that might be a low guess. We know around a million children disappear in Europe every year.

AMANPOUR: Why Lumos?

ROWLING: It's a spell. It's a light-giving spell, so the metaphor.


AMANPOUR: Harry Potter is -


AMANPOUR: It's obvious you're doing this. Isn't it?

ROWLING: It wasn't obvious to me at the time, but to be very candid, I think my worst fear, my personal worst fear, is powerlessness and small spaces. Just the idea that these children were being kept penned like this was horrific to me. So although I didn't think that about the cupboard, I suppose, why did I put Harry on the cupboard? Because this is my fear of being trapped and being powerless, being powerless to get out of that space.


VANIER: You can see all of Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling, on Monday, at 7:00 p.m. in London or 2:00 p.m. New York time.

Coming up after the break, Emmanuel Macron really, really wants to host the Olympics. We'll show you how Paris is getting its bid ready.

And if you're in the market for, say, a baby grand piano that Donald Trump used to own, go to Atlantic City, New Jersey. You might pick up a bargain. We'll explain when we come back.




VANIER: Welcome back. Paris and Los Angeles are in an all-out competition to host the 2024 Olympic games. Delegations will visit the Olympic Museum in Switzerland on Tuesday to make their final presentations. It's well known that host cities rarely make a profit, so why is Paris so determined to win this bid?

Our Jim Bittermann reports.



JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, the bands, oh, the banners. Make no mistake, Paris really wants the 2024 Olympic games. They're spending nearly $70 million on splashy shows and demonstrations to convince the International Olympic Committee and perhaps their own countrymen that Paris has the infrastructure, enthusiasm, and engagement financially to stage the games.

Everyone is getting involved, from past and present Olympic stars, to the newly elected president. And even the mayor, who initially was a bit dubious about the whole thing.

There's a reason why Paris is putting so much effort into the bid, why it's put its mayor into a canoe and sending divers plunging into the River Seine. The reason is, the last time the city tried for the Olympics, in 2005, the organizers were accused of being arrogantly overconfident. When London got the nod, the disappointment here was palpable.

ANNOUNCER: The gates of the 30th Olympian, are awarded to the city of London.


BITTERMANN: It wasn't just the loss of the 2012 games to ancient rivals across the English Channel that hurt so much. It was the blow to national pride. This time organizers are determined not to make the same mistakes.

Among other things, they put sports heroes out in front.

UNIDENTIFIED FORMER OLYMPICS ATHLETE: We have all the resources, 95 percent of existing venues. We have all the transport facilities. So it's time now to really consider that France is the right place to organize again in '24.

BITTERMANN: Despite all the facilities Paris already has in place, organizers plan to spend more than six billion euros on new sites and improvements to existing ones.

But Olympic budgets are notoriously unrealistic. When asked if the Olympics would put the taxpayers at risk, the mayor said, we are no longer there. Meaning perhaps that things have moved well beyond debating a price tag.

And while the promoters claim that costs that can covered, ask someone who studies such questions, and he'll tell you that no Olympics since 1984 has made money on the games. Although that may not be the point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like when you host a party at your House, you don't do it for the money. You do it to shine.

BITTERMANN: But to succeed, Paris must defeat the only other city in the bidding, Los Angeles. Three other cities have dropped out, in part or entirely, over the question of costs.

(on camera): In any kind of competition, you always have your eye on the competitor to see how far they're behind you. Are you keeping an eye on Los Angeles?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will win on our strengths.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): And for Paris, looking forward means September, for the announcement of which of the two cities has made it over the top.


BITTERMANN: Jim Bittermann, CNN.


VANIER: Before he moved into the White House, Donald Trump decorated his homes and hotels to match his lavish lifestyle. Now you can own some of his old treasures for a bargain.

CNN's Dana Bash explains.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here goes nothing. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1990, Donald Trump opened the Taj Mahal Casino with the rub of a golden lamp.


BASH: A real estate wish come true.


[01:55:03] TRUMP: Nobody has seen anything like it. The reviews have been unanimous raves.

BASH: Trump sold his stake in the casino in 2009



BASH: But was paid to keep his name attached to it.

In 2014, he sued to have the logo removed, saying the business had fallen into, quote, "an utter state of disrepair," which tainted his brand.


BASH: But Trump's trash is another man's treasure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're looking for Trump's junk.

BASH: A liquidation sale is under way, and everything must go. Bargain hunters won't find anything with the Trump logo, but there was plenty of his signature razzle dazzle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Found this on the 43rd floor.

BASH: Want a hot pink jacuzzi tub? You've got it. Chandeliers, televisions or baby grand piano?


BASH: Name your price. How about a luxury marble shower?


BASH: A New Jersey TV crew found this shopper testing the merchandise.


BASH: An entire bedroom package could be yours for just $300.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't say I would buy the beds or mattresses, but -- because --

BASH: Thinking of buying a piece of Trump's treasure? Get to Atlantic City and get in line. The sale ends when the goods are gone.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


VANIER: That's it from us. Thank you very much for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The news continues right after this. Stay with us.


[02:00:08] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer. A meeting that's raising a lot of eyebrows. But Trump says it --