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Trump and Putin Met Twice at G20; U.S. Health Care Battle; U.S.-Iran Tensions; Brexit Talks; Crisis in Venezuela; Saudi Skirt Outrage; Australian Killed in U.S.; Tropical Storms Hilary versus Don. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 19, 2017 - 02:00   ET




ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour:

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Another undisclosed Russian meeting only this time it was Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Just a casual chat after dinner, says the White House. An hour-long private discussion, say others.

SOARES (voice-over): Well, if you think Washington's a mess, you can put the Brexit negotiations in the same box. Unprepared this political infighting is concerned on the streets of the U.K.

VAUSE (voice-over): And Australia's prime minister now demanding answers over the fateful police shooting of an Australian woman living in the United States.

Hello, everybody. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

SOARES (voice-over): And I'm Isa Soares. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.


VAUSE: The White House again on the defensive about another undisclosed Russian meeting. But this was between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at a dinner during the G20 summit earlier this month. Video from the dinner shows him the Russian president seated next to U.S. first lady Melania Trump.

SOARES: An aide says Mr. Trump spoke with Mr. Putin for nearly an hour that night but officially the White House calls it a brief conversation and rejects any notions it tried to hide the meeting.


VAUSE: Joining us now here in Los Angeles, Democratic strategist Robin Swanson and CNN political commentator, Trump supporter and talk radio host over at KABC, John Phillips.

Good to have you both with us.

OK. This second undisclosed meeting between President Putin and Trump was first reported by Ian Bremmer with the Eurasia Group. Here's what he said.


IAN BREMMER, EURASIA GROUP: He has a meeting with a lot of people not in it, only Tillerson; the translators; Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Putin. Lasts over two hours. Don't have a clear readout on exactly what was said from either side.

Then on top of that, you have an hour that evening that no one's even heard of.

Well, the first thing I thought of when I heard it was the fact that when Sessions was having these meetings with Kislyak that weren't meetings right because they were in broader meetings but they're pull- asides so you don't really need to talk about it but it turns out that's where they're conducting business, that's kind of what this sounds like.


VAUSE: Now according to Bremmer's newsletter, which he sends out to his client, the meeting began halfway the into the meal and lasted roughly an hour.

All this seems to contradict the statement coming from the White House, which read, "There was no second meeting between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to hide a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd."

Robin, it's Russia, Russia, Russia.

Who do you believe?

Who's got the credibility here?

Do you give the president the benefit of the doubt?

Or have they run out of credibility?

ROBIN SWANSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I generally don't give this president the benefit of the doubt. And certainly if it's an hour-long conversation, he's not asking how the prime rib was at dinner.

VAUSE: Not asking about the grandkids or golf.

SWANSON: Well, and honestly, we don't know because there's no record of what happened there. So the only people that know are Donald Trump, Putin and the translators.

VAUSE: The Russian translator. SWANSON: That's right.


VAUSE: -- the Russian government --

SWANSON: -- translator. So we have no public record of a conversation that happened between the President of the United States and Vladimir Putin.

And the bigger question I think is what message did that send the rest of the world that was sitting there at the very same dinner?

Perhaps you should have struck up a conversation with Angela Merkel or any one of our allies about things that we care about, like fighting terrorism.

So the fact that he gives Putin that kind of credibility and spends an hour with him, this is man who murders journalists. This is a man who should be an enemy of the United States of America.

So I think it's troubling on lot of levels and he certainly doesn't tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, because we've missed a key conversation here.

SOARES: But John, it's not the -- I mean, people will probably be scratching their heads or screaming at the TV at this very moment, saying, look, he's the leader of the G20. Of course he mingles, of course, he talks to everyone. But this goes to the very heart of credibility, of transparency.

So at what point does this begin to do damage to his credibility, to his presidency but also his capacity to lead?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think this is why he went to the G20 summit, to meet with other world leaders. He didn't go to Europe to try to schnitzel. He went there to talk to these people and to get to know them.

My assumption would be, as a newly elected leader, this is one of the first times he ever got a chance to dine with them and chat with them one-on-one. And I assume that's exactly what was going on here. Now knowing what we know about Trump, I'm sure the conversation started with, "The food is much better at Mar-a-lago."


VAUSE: OK, well, the president did push back on Twitter a short time ago --


VAUSE: -- in a very Donald Trump kind of way.

"Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is 'sick.' All G20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the chancellor of Germany. Press knew!"

"The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!"

John, it seems, though, the problem here is that the press didn't know about this meeting. There's no official readout from what was said. No one knows exactly what was said. This was not a secret meeting; it was reported as being undisclosed.

And you know, right now, given all the multiple investigations which are underway involving Russia, at the very least, this looks highly suspect. It smells fishier than a three-day-old (INAUDIBLE) fish.


PHILLIPS: Well, it certainly has an antagonistic relationship with the press. And the press has an antagonistic relationship --


VAUSE: There is protocol here. (INAUDIBLE) with the press. (INAUDIBLE) protocol.

PHILLIPS: I think it's implied that when he's at these meetings, he's going to meet with world leaders. I don't think it's incumbent upon him to enumerate where he is every minute of the day.

SOARES: OK, but I mean of course, but there's a whole question of transparency and why didn't you reveal it from the get-go. But let me ask you this, Robin, it's clear we're getting this drip, drip, drip, drip, drip of information every single day. And it seems some -- it's rubbing some people up the wrong way.

I want to show you an editorial from "The Wall Street Journal" that really struck me. This is like a bastion of conservatives. If we can bring it up for our viewers to read, they can see it.

"Everything that is potentially damaging to the Trumps will come out, one way or another. Everything. The best chance of saving this presidency: radical transparency. Release everything to the public ahead of the inevitable leaks."

I mean this is the editorial board. This is what they had to say.

Does this actually hurt him in any way?

The fact that the bastion of conservatism is now has said I have had enough.

SWANSON: Well, with his voters, maybe not. With that, you know, those just loyal Trump voters, they may not care. But I think with most of America, at this point, we have an expectation that he's going to be presidential at some point and show some leadership.

And, at the very least, all of this shows extraordinarily poor judgment And I would like the leader of the free world to exercise some judgment about who it is he's talking to, what decisions he's making.

Theoretically, he only has so many hours in the day.

And why is it that he's spending an entire hour after already having spent two hours with Vladimir Putin?

VAUSE: And John, to "The Wall Street Journal's" --


VAUSE: -- radical transparency here, laying it all out, that's what Trump's lawyers want. Detailed every meeting with every Russian. Every time you've even had borscht soup, list it.

But there seems to be pushback. The president doesn't want to do it.

PHILLIPS: Well, I'm not surprised it's coming from "The Wall Street Journal." "The Wall Street Journal" is the open borders journal. They're not Trump kind of Republicans.


VAUSE: -- just bring the transparency out there.

Why is there such reluctance within the White House, do you think?

PHILLIPS: I think Maggie Haberman said he's the most accessible president she's ever covered.


SWANSON: On Twitter.

PHILLIPS: People can get him on the phone. They can just call him up at 10 o'clock at night. Hello --


VAUSE: -- he's telling you?

Are you being told the truth?

I think it's been demonstrated on a number of occasions that the president doesn't tell the truth.

PHILLIPS: But "The Wall Street Journal," "The Wall Street Journal" is not a Trump type of Republican. "The Wall Street Journal" is an establishment sort of Republican brand that never supported him in the primaries, they never supported him, certainly in the general election. I don't believe they endorsed him.

So the fact that they're still going after him in their editorials isn't surprising and it doesn't show any defections in the Trump camp. Trump voters, Trump supporters are still very happy with what he's doing.


SOARES: Are they happy about what we've seen the last 24 hours when it comes to the health care, the (INAUDIBLE) Republican health care bill?

Now it seems we have plan A, now it seems we have plan B.

Let's take a listen to this sound bite.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let ObamaCare fail. It will be a lot easier. And I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let ObamaCare fail. We're not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We'll let ObamaCare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and say how do we fix it?

Or how do we come up with a new plan?


SOARES: Listening to this, if I were in London, many people would be scratching their heads and reading, did he just say that?

This is one of his main campaign promises.

How can he sleep at night, knowing there is no other option, he's going to let it die?

There's no back up plan.

PHILLIPS: Well, he's got to get to it because ObamaCare is imploding. People don't like it. Republicans won two national -- three national elections essentially running against Obama 2010, 2014, 2016.

They have to come up with something. But it's yet another reminder that Congress is run by people with spines made of linguine. They look at the poll numbers. The poll numbers are not good for this health care bill because the Democrats have been spending -- and their enablers in the media -- have been spending months and months and months, saying that this will kill more people than a Michael Bay movie --


PHILLIPS: -- and so they believe it.

But guess what?

The alternative is worse. The alternative is Democrats coming back and saying, no, we need more taxes, we need more money to make ObamaCare work or what the House of Representatives wants, where a majority of Democrats in the House, now want single payer health care.

Both alternatives are worse. They need to get a bill through. If it doesn't happen this time, they'd better do it fast.

SWANSON: No, here's what's worse is when millions of people lose their health care. I think that's actually quite tragic and I think there's a couple of disturbing threads and first is that the buck does not stop with President Trump.

Harry Truman set that gold standard for presidential leadership and Donald Trump is happy to pass the buck, despite a Republican Senate, a Republican House and a Republican in the White House and then still trying to blame Democrats for their problems.

The fact they couldn't get all the Republican senators to vote for their very own bill. So and now he's asking people to take this leap of faith that they're going to jump over the cliff with no net. And we've watched him crash and burn far too many times to do that again.

VAUSE: Well, Isa, you mentioned all the campaign promises that candidate Trump made during last year's campaign. Let's just listen to them again.


TRUMP: You're going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost and it's going to be so easy. Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as ObamaCare.

ObamaCare is dead. It's going to be repealed. It's going to be replaced. We're not go having to a two-day period and we're not going to have a two-year period.

I've been talking about repealing and replacing ObamaCare now for almost two years. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.


VAUSE: And that last bit's my favorite.


"No one knew how..."

John, "a tiny fraction of the cost," it was going to be amazing. It's all so easy to do. We're going to immediately do it, repeal and replace.

Is this like Donald Trump the businessman overpromising and then -- or making promises and contracts and then not coming through and not paying and not keeping his word?

PHILLIPS: How many times did it take Bill Clinton to get welfare reform through, what, three times?


PHILLIPS: -- somewhere around there? It'll -- this will eventually get through. As a Trump supporter, I couldn't be happier with what we've been getting out of them. We got Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. We pulled out of the Paris climate accords.

Illegal immigration has fallen off a cliff. His people are happy. He hasn't won over the people that hated him during the campaign. But I think we live in a very polarized country where that's just not possible.

SWANSON: Well, he hasn't won over the majority of Americans. The majority of Americans disapprove of --


SOARES: And the reality is that Republicans don't have a single major piece of legislation to actually show since you've been in power.

PHILLIPS: We got Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.


PHILLIPS: That'll shape law for a generation.

SWANSON: It's just a trail of broken promises.

VAUSE: But don't worry. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, he is a master legislator. He's got a plan.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: It's pretty clear that there are not 50 Republicans at the moment to vote for a replacement for ObamaCare. Consequently, sometime in the near future, we'll have a vote on repealing ObamaCare, essentially the same vote that we had in 2015.


VAUSE: Only that plan lasted about two hours before they realized they didn't have the support for that as well.

John, at the end of the day, if Republicans want to do something about health care, are they going to have to work with the Democrats?

And is that really so awful?

PHILLIPS: If the Democrats want to come to the table, I'd do it. But just think about all of this debate in the context of the upcoming midterm elections.

Where is the playing field?

The playing field is in places like North Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana, where Democrats will be representing states that are running for reelection in states that Donald Trump won and, in many cases, won handily, largely with rural populations.

Look at the places where health care costs have gone through the roof and where people have no options under ObamaCare. It's in rural America. They have to come through on this subject. There's just no other alternative --


VAUSE: John's points is not scoring political points. We're talking about people's health here. You surely need to get past that.

SWANSON: And there's a new poll out that actually shows in these Trump counties, they oppose -- they -- only 12 percent in these Trump counties support the Trump health care plan, which is nothing.

So I think there's a big problem and the bigger problem is for those who have to get reelected whose name aren't Donald Trump and do have an R by their name.

VAUSE: Well, if nothing else, Donald Trump and this health care plan has united Americans --


VAUSE: -- like never before. Everyone hates him.


VAUSE: Robin and John, good to see you both. Thank you.


VAUSE: Well, the Trump administration has slapped new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and its, quote, "malign activities" in the Middle East. This move comes just a day after the U.S. reluctantly recertified Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

SOARES: But the White House says President Trump still thinks the deal is a bad one and doesn't believe the Iranians have been fully compliant. Iran says it will retaliate with its own sanctions against U.S. interests.

VAUSE: Joining now on the line us from Tehran, "L.A. Times" reporter Ramin Mostaghim.

Ramin, Iran's foreign ministry blasted these new U.S. sanctions, calling the move "worthless and contemptible." In a statement warning that Iran will reciprocate the move by opposing sanctions on a number of American natural and legal persons who have taken steps against the Iranian people and other Muslim nations in the region. The names of those individuals will be announced soon.

They seem to be taking a very broad approach here.

Who are these people who are likely to be hit by the sanctions? And what sort of sanctions will they be?

RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, "L.A. TIMES": I think even the (INAUDIBLE) in Iran are not eager to be the first to violate the sanctions (INAUDIBLE) to violate the nuclear deal. Iran needs urgently and very (INAUDIBLE) to be away from the sanctions and to extract (ph) (INAUDIBLE) economic situation.

So Iran, despite all the rhetoric from the Trump side and American administration side and despite the hardliners' rhetoric (ph) against the nuclear deal, it (INAUDIBLE) to continue the (INAUDIBLE) and try to cooperate because economically and financially Iran is not in good shape and doesn't need any further sanctions, no matter what they say and what is the rhetoric (INAUDIBLE).

VAUSE: OK, Ramin, we'll leave it there. But thank you for the update on where things stand right now with the government there in Tehran.

SOARES: Now British prime minister Theresa May under fire over Brexit negotiations. In a few hours, she'll face questions from the man who wants her job. That's Labour leader, you can see there, Jeremy Corbyn.

VAUSE: Also, Brexit has brought uncertainty across the U.K. and experts are warning the economic outlook is grim.




SOARES: Now British prime minister Theresa May will probably be on the defensive when she faces questions in Parliament in just a few hours. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn will likely criticize Ms. May over how her government is really handling ongoing Brexit negotiations.

VAUSE: Earlier, the prime minister issued a warning to her cabinet. She wants unity and she wants an end to the leaks after reports of infighting over the terms of the divorce from the European --


VAUSE: -- Union. Meantime, many across the U.K. and businesses as well are feeling very uncertain. Nina dos Santos has more from London.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Londoners have always known business such thing is a free lunch. Full inflation may have soften this month. Prices are still rising faster than wages. And the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is becoming increasingly hard to swallow. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are angry. People aren't getting paid enough. People are being cut. The wrong things are being cut. It's all backwards in my opinion. Everything is rolling backwards and not forwards like it should be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we're happy to survive.

DOS SANTOS: Such angst caused Prime Minister Theresa May her majority. Allowing Jeremy Corbyn to pitch his Labour Party as a government in waiting. One which he promised Brussels will be more conciliatory in exit negotiations.

Even the man who spearheaded the leave campaign now thinks Brexit is a bad idea. With the government so ill prepared, its representatives appear to come empty-handed to this month's E.U. talks.

For May, making friends further afield isn't going to plan either. Britain May being quick to offer Donald Trump a state visit, that amidst a debate. Pro-E.U. leaders like Merkel and Macron wasted no time in welcoming the U.S. president themselves.

So, where does this leave the U.K.?

Well, increasingly isolated and in London home to a quarter of nation's GDP, businesses are becoming increasingly skeptical. The Brexit will be done and dusted by 2019.

SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: The Article 50 served was supposed to negotiate an exit in two years. I want the government now is talking about and I welcome this, is a transitional period of two years to give people certainty before we enter the new arrangement with the European Union.

DOS SANTOS: Meanwhile, banks are accelerating their contingency plans and looking for alternative European headquarters. But Paris and Frankfurt making audacious bids for their business, moves which could leave the whole of Britain paying a hefty price before Brexit has even begun -- Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.


SOARES: Well, global business executive Ryan Patel joins us now from San Francisco.

Ryan, thank you very much for being here. We're in the second round now, second day of the latest round. I'm losing track of all the rounds of the Brexit talks. And it seems that negotiators are still looking pretty unprepared.

How is all this uncertainty being felt, would you say, on the markets?

RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: If you've heard of chess pieces, this is more than chess pieces. It is -- there are so many backups of plans, even from like Citibank wanting to now start doing stuff in Frankfurt, Japan's deal with Europe, with the European Union getting stronger and then Canada and the U.K. potentially doing side deals after they actually exit.

And on top of all that, what's really going on, no one really knows about how hard the stance is going to be.

I think that's where the confusion's happening. But what's different from this companies and maybe potentially the U.S. economy, companies and international countries are actually having backup plans, that this is what we're going to go forward and we're going to put these contingency plans in advance.

And that's kind of -- if I'm in the U.K. right now government, you kind of don't want people to make decisions before you actually make the negotiation done.

SOARES: Absolutely. But when you don't have a plan, it's always quite hard when you don't say what that plan is. It's quite hard for people to plan ahead and there seems to be no more really good news.

I saw today from Consultancy PwC (ph) really painting a worrying scenario for the economy, an economy they say will likely call the next two years, this because of rising inflation from the weak sterling, from the weak pound.

On top of all this are signs of slowing consumer confidence, consumer spending and increased reluctance among businesses to invest. This is really troubling.

PATEL: No, it is. And you mentioned that report. There's multiple other reports also talking about why this is not going the way it's supposed to. And I think that's the confusion on their end. They're not really -- where do they make a stance?

And they've got to decide. And what's different about these reports are other companies are taking the initiative to go forward on we're not going to wait. We think it's going to be the worst outcome.

What's best for us?

And even in the E.U., Italy, Spain and even Germany, Germany right now is probably -- could be a beneficial, benefit from this. But also they'll be exposed to be the outperforming quite a bit. So it's very interesting to see the implication also in Asia as well with Australia and New Zealand and even in Japan and China.

SOARES: Going into these negotiations, you can almost understand why there would be so much uncertain, so many questions. No one's been there before.


SOARES: But Brexit, let's remind our viewers, was actually on June 23rd of 2016. That's more than a year ago. And still the cabinet looks like they're unprepared. They're divided. There's bickering within the Conservative Party. We've got leaks going on.

In the meantime, as you're looking at this video right now, the rest of the world pretty much laughing, as David Davies goes into the meeting, looking unprepared with no papers.

This is a cartoon from "The Guardian" newspaper, portraying how basically this whole meeting has turned out. There's Europe, waiting with croissants on the table. Under the table there's a lot of bickering.

What type of image does this give to the rest of the world in terms of being open for business and being prepared for the next stage?

PATEL: I hate to say this. It's actually showing how they don't have any leverage in this situation and that the E.U. has more leverage to it. And it's sad to see this because obviously it was a little bit of a shock when it -- from June and you'd think that you'd give them three or four months to get to this point. And it's not like there's not new news. It's happened. They've known that this is going to happen and move forward. And I feel like they're running out of positions on what to do.

And while they continue to bicker, I hate to tell you this, other countries and the E.U. are getting stronger in their positions, even though that I believe the U.K. has a lot to offer, obviously, in other industries but they're all at pause right now. And that's the problem in the U.K. They've got some industries that are growing, from digital economy and some of these other places.

But they can't do anything just yet until, in the home, it gets decided.

SOARES: And the reality, it's really hard to find a positive story on Brexit.

PATEL: That's right.


SOARES: -- positive news coming out, Brexit comes to London, it's hard. I mean, you're talking about some of the companies. But I did some digging. Already heard JPMorgan, UBS and Goldman Sachs. I've already said they'll move jobs and investment or both out of the U.K..

So very troubling. Important, of course, to get these negotiations underway and some clarity, much -- very important. So let's see what comes out today of really a Parliament and no bickering, no doubt.

Ryan Patel, thanks very much. Wonderful to see you.

PATEL: Thank you. Likewise.

VAUSE: Time for a quick break. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is coming up for our viewers in Asia. And for everyone else, airline passengers on flights from Mexico to the U.S. will be facing new restrictions and they're being told get to the airport early.

SOARES: Plus the crop top and a short skirt have landed this woman in trouble with police. We'll tell you why this video is so controversial -- next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Isa Soares. The headlines for you this hour:


SOARES: Airline passengers flying from Mexico to the U.S. will be subject to new rules for portable electronic devices. Anything larger than a cell phone will undergo a separate safety check. Now Mexico says it's been told the new rules take effect in the coming day and that travelers should arrive at the airport three hours before departure.

VAUSE: During last year's presidential campaign in the U.S., candidate Donald Trump promised to rip up the North American Free Trade Accord (sic) because he said it was taking jobs from American workers. Well, the deal won't be ripped up. It will be renegotiated. And the administration is demanding some big changes.

SOARES: On the top of its list, cutting the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico, which last year totaled $63 billion. Our Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: It was a campaign promise.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to renegotiate the horrible NAFTA trade deal, probably the worst deal ever made in terms of trade.

ROMO (voice-over): The North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States was a hot topic.

TRUMP: Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened --


TRUMP: Stripped our countries of our factories and our manufacturing and moved them to other places; in particular, Mexico.

ROMO (voice-over): But the president changed his tune once in office.

TRUMP: So I've decided rather than terminating NAFTA, which would be a pretty big shock to the system, we will renegotiate. ROMO: Now after a nearly two-month consultation period, Trump's U.S. trade representative is outlining the president's wish list for a new NAFTA.

Topping the list is the goal of cutting the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico, which was $63 billion last year and has grown considerably since the deal, signed by then president Clinton, went into effect in 1994.

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson says, regardless of political persuasions, there's consensus NAFTA needs updating.

At one point President Trump even suggested that it was time to get completely rid of it.

That's not happening anymore from your perspective?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, that was political rhetoric. You know the president loves to play to his base and he knows that he was large base that wanted this crazy wall that's not going to happen.

ROMO (voice-over): Fourteen million jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Richardson also says now that Trump's proposal seems to build a wall seems more difficult to materialize, Mexicans may be more willing to talk business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president in the end, maybe not right away, is going to say, well, it's not going to be built Mexico's not going to pay for it and the Congress is not going to fund it.

ROMO (voice-over): Negotiations may take years but time for a new deal is limited. Mexico's electing a new president next year. And there's no guarantee Enrique Pena Nieto's successor will be as willing to cooperate as the current Mexican administration -- Rafael Romo, CNN.


VAUSE: Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro not backing down from his plans to rewrite the country's constitution, sparking calls from the opposition for a 24-hour strike on Thursday.

SOARES: Millions of Venezuelans rejected the president's plans in a symbolic referendum and now the Venezuelan government is denouncing and mocking the U.S. for threatening to impose economic sanctions. Our Leyla Santiago is following this story from Mexico City.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United States is now clarifying what could be possible sanctions against Venezuela in the future. They're actually saying on the table right now is a blow to Venezuela's oil market, possibly cutting back on the amount of oil the U.S. buys from Venezuela. And this comes after President Trump announced he is considering taking action against Venezuela if the president, Nicolas Maduro, moves forward with his plan to rewrite the constitution --


SANTIAGO: -- something that Maduro's critics say is a move for him to stay in power, something President Trump says is undermining democracy. Now Venezuela also had its share of strong words for the other side, the United States. Venezuela's foreign minister said that the -- compared the United States to a xenophobic and racist empire and certainly pointed the finger at the United States as the instigator for the opposition, the opposition that is taking to the streets for nearly three months now in what has become violent protests, even deadly protests.

Nearly 100 deaths since the political unrest began and many Venezuelans expressing frustration over medical shortages, food shortages, inflation. And that's something that the opposition is using as its message for the reason it wants a new government, not a new constitution -- Leyla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.


SOARES: Now a woman in Saudi Arabia has been detained over what the kingdom's police religious leaders say are calling offensive clothing.

VAUSE: Her crime involves a short skirt, crop top and a brief appearance on social media. Here's Becky Anderson.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): This video lasting just six seconds sparking massive outrage, it looks normal enough this young woman wearing a short skirt and a crop top, strolling through the empty but bakingly hot streets of an historic town.

The town, though, is in Saudi Arabia. The birth place of the kingdom's ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Islamic thought. Saudi women have to wear loose fitting clothing and to cover their hair. The authorities then snapping into action, tracking the woman down and taking her in for questioning.

Releasing this statement, quote, "She admitted to visiting the site in question with a male guardian. And that the viral videos were published by an account attributed to her without her knowledge," end quote.

The clip sparked a heated debate on social media.

One Twitter user writing, quote, "People who don't respect the kingdom's rules don't deserve to live in it."

Others, though, jumping to the young woman's defense. Some women's rights activists writing that if she were from the West, people would be falling head over heels for her. NAJAH ALOTAIBI, SAUDI JOURNALIST: Women now are strong. They feel empowered. They feel that they want to voice their demands, they want to take actions.

And I think this is because they feel that the new government and the new leadership is inspiring them because in the last few years, the government, they made a progressive steps to empowered women.

ANDERSON: Under the leadership of young Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is undergoing major change introducing an ambitious plan for social, economic and cultural reform called Saudi Vision 2030.

The government also rolled back some of the powers at its religious beliefs, not letting them detain people they think who have broken extremely strict standards of moral conduct. But long held beliefs by conservative segments in Saudi Arabia will take longer to change.

ALOTAIBI: The officials, they talk about reform openly. So, a lot of women, they feel empowered to make an action and to help themselves. But, of course, I think also the government, they have to be consistent. If they want to make a change.

ANDERSON (voice-over): In a country where the leadership is spending billions and years working towards the future, all it seems to take is 6 seconds to press reset --Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


SOARES: Now let's take a closer look at this with Melody Moezzi. She's a writer, attorney and activist.

Melody, thank you very much for being here on the show. You know what struck me when I was watching this video -- and if we can show viewers again -- is here we have a young woman in a short skirt and a crop top, pretty much in summer clothes, visiting one of the most pretty conservative areas of Saudi Arabia.

So to me it screamed a bit like a deliberate protest against Saudi Arabia's rules.

How did you interpret it?

MELODY MOEZZI, WRITER, ATTORNEY, ACTIVIST: It's unclear whether it's deliberate or not and whether that would be beneficial to be publicly saying that about it for her or not.

Obviously, I don't think it would be so beneficial for her. But I saw it as a brave act by a woman, who is an incredibly hot environment and should be able to dress however she likes.

According to the rules of Islam, not just the rules of whatever government she's under -- Islam does not preach compulsion in any respect. So this government --

[02:40:00] MOEZZI: -- the Saudi government is not and particularly its Wahhabi, so-called version of Islam is not a version of Islam. It is a perversion of Islam. And I think that's the message that we need to be sending, that this is not representative of Islam in any way, that someone would -- that the government of Saudi Arabia is not at all representative of what Islam is about because it's not about that.

SOARES: Yes. And many people have come to her defense on Twitter, pointing out that first lady Melania Trump and then Ivanka Trump did not wear chadors when they visited the country in May and there was little public outcry when there.

In fact, Saudi women's rights activist -- you probably know her very well, Fatima Lisa (ph) tweeted this -- and I'll translate what she says.

"If she were Western, they would have praised her waist and her enchanting eyes. But because she's Saudi, they call for her to be tried."

Does she have a point here?

MOEZZI: Absolutely. The hypocrisy of allowing foreign women to dress differently or giving more leniency to foreign women is absurd, that any law should apply to anyone within that country makes sense, right?

So the law in and of itself is already -- all of the morality (INAUDIBLE), the morality laws are already not just inhumane and against basic human rights. But, I repeat, against Islam and that is something that I think maybe people don't realize.

SOARES: Yes. And the crown prince -- and Becky made that point in her piece -- Crowd Prince Mohammad bin Salman has a strategy for the future -- or, as he calls it, Vision 2030 -- and some are basically suggesting that accepting infringements of this dress code to attract more tourists may be a wise move.

From what you've seen from this 2030 Vision, is there any reforms, any room for women's rights here, Melody?

MOEZZI: Absolutely not.


SOARES: And that is a huge concern. More than half of the population in Saudi Arabia is under 25. Now Saudi Arabia's also at the U.N. women's councils. And this is the irony of it all.

MOEZZI: Right. Absolutely. The fact that a country where women can't even drive is not only at the U.N. and having a seat at the table there but also has a seat at the table in foreign policy as well, right?

So I'm here in the United States, where we are strong allies in the United States with the Saudi government. And to think that we have clean hands in all of this, that the U.S. is not complicit in the oppression of Saudi women, is absurd, because absolutely the U.S. government and all of the weapons we ship, all of the funding to the Saudi government, recently over $100 billion in weapons sent to Saudi Arabia, weapons that we have seen historically get into the hands of terrorists, that we keep sending those weapons, that is part of sort of encouraging this patriarchal regime and this oppressive regime against women and against all people.

Currently have 14 men who are imminently facing execution in Saudi Arabia for taking part in protests, right?

Taking part in protests. That's it. And they are facing execution imminently. And I think -- and they're all Shia members of the religious minority. And these things are repeated. You can't oppress one group of people and think that a lot of people are going to be oppressed as a result of it.

SOARES: Melody Moezzi, thank you very much, fascinating.

MOEZZI: Thank you.

VAUSE: A short break now. When we come back, anger and disbelief after a U.S. police officer shot and killed an Australian woman living in the U.S.





VAUSE: An investigation and a renowned Catholic choir school in Germany has uncovered hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse spanning decades.

SOARES: Forty-nine people are blamed for the abuse which started in 1945 and is believed to have just ended just two years ago. (INAUDIBLE) mistakes were made, which is why it commissioned the independent investigation.


ULRICH WEBER, ATTORNEY (through translator): Preschool victims of the Regensburg Domspatzen school described the institution as a prison, hell and a concentration camp. Many of them called the time there the worst of their lives, marked by violence, fear and helplessness.

SOARES (voice-over): The allegations began to surface back in 2010, the school's members tour all over the world to perform.


VAUSE: Still no answers why an Australian woman living the in U.S. was killed by police. The family of Justine Ruszczyk say officials have told them little about the fatal shooting over the weekend. Ruszczyk's fiance says two police officers responded to her 9-1-1 call, reporting a possible sexual assault near her home.

SOARES: Those officers have been identified as Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor, whom you're seeing here. Harrity told investigators he was startled by a loud sound near the police car. He says Ruszczyk approached them and then put Minneapolis authorities say Noor then fired his weapon, hitting her in the abdomen.

Noor has not spoken to investigators. And here's what the mayor of Minneapolis is saying about the tragedy. Take a listen.


BETSY HODGES, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS: We do have more information now, although it's frustrating to have some of the picture though not all of it. We cannot compel Officer Noor to make a statement.

I wish he could. I wish he would make a statement, is what I want to say. We can't compel him by law. But I wish he would make that statement.


SOARES: Well, back home, Ruszczyk's death has come as a shock to Australians. She was supposed to get married next month. This vigil was set up in Sydney to remember her life and to help say goodbye.


VAUSE: To Sydney now and Caroline Marcus, reporter with Sky News Australia.

So, Caroline, the officer who fired that fatal shot, Mohamed Noor, declined to give an interview to investigates.

Is that just one of issues here which is fueling the anger and the outrage there?

CAROLINE MARCUS, SKY NEWS AUSTRALIA: Well, I think, John, we have seen a lot of anger but more bewilderment here in term of this story. And I suppose the fact that you don't have to be compelled as an officer involved in a fatal shooting in the U.S. is something that's got people here asking a lot of questions.

Now we have heard more details obviously around this shooting that's come mainly from the BCA in the United States, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. But we are trying to find out more, as is the family both here and in the States. We know now about, of course, that loud noise that the other officer, Matthew Harrity, had reported hearing.

But what was the cause of the loud noise, we still don't know. According to the Budget Control Act, their squad car lights were off at the time they were looking for the suspect that Ms. Ruszczyk had reported hearing, apparent sexual assault in the alley behind their house.

But when they reached the alley in their squad car, they heard a loud noise. Harrity said. And that's when Ms. Ruszczyk appeared at his side window and Mohamed Noor discharged his weapon.

There has been some speculation about fireworks and that came from an audio recording in the car. The dispatcher, after the shooting, was heard telling the officers that it could have been aerial fireworks they heard in terms of that loud noise.

But because Mohamed Noor has not given evidence and, as we just heard from the mayor, he's not legally compelled to do so, we don't actually know the exact circumstances, of course because the body cameras that these officers were had not been activated at the time of the shooting and neither was the camera in the car.

So I think everyone in Australia --


MARCUS: -- as well as in Minneapolis would like to know what Mohamed Noor has to say. But, of course, over there, he's not legally compelled to do so.

VAUSE: OK, well, the demand for answers to how this shooting may have happened, now coming from Australia's prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Here's what he said.


MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Our consul general is supporting the family and we are seeking answers to this. This is a shocking killing. It's inexplicable. Our hearts go out to her family.

I mean, how can a woman out in the street in her pajamas seeking assistance from the police be shot like that?

It is a shocking killing.


VAUSE: And here's a sample of how the story is actually being reported in Australia, front page news on Sydney's "Daily Telegraph," the headline, "American Nightmare."

Also this from the website, the most widely read website, "The midwestern U.S. city where an Australian bride-to-be was mysteriously shot dead by a cop is a 'police state,' run by 'out-of- control officers,' according to a community activist."

So it's that the perception there now that Justine Ruszczyk was the victim of gun-happy cops?

MARCUS: Well, I think there has always been a perception of a very lax gun control in the United States, certainly how it compares to Australia. We had our former prime minister, John Howard introduce really strict gun laws and had a gun buyback here back in the mid- 1990s and that after we had our own gun massacre here in Port Arthur in Tasmania. And that really was seen widely as something that cleaned up the country of illegal firearms. In fact, right now we have another national amnesty, in which people with unregistered firearms are able to hand back in their weapons without facing any sort of punishment.

So it really bewilders a lot of people just generally how out-of- control the gun situation is in the United States. And obviously we do often hear the situation about how many people are also shot by cops. That gets a lot of coverage on our news here as well.

And we've had a piece that went up online recently in the last couple of hours on the Fairfax website here.

It said Justine Damond is the 541th person shot dead by the U.S. police this year. There are also reports that Ms. Ruszczyk had told friends rather prophetically that her fear of guns was her biggest reservation about moving to the United States in 2015 to be her fiance, Don Damond. So of course, that's a very sad revelation that ultimately her biggest fear was what ultimately killed her.

VAUSE: There are many sad and tragic aspects to that story, that not being the least of them. Caroline, thanks for being with us. We appreciate your time.


SOARES: Now still to come, the storm is brewing. In fact, I think it's a couple of them.


SOARES: And, no, it's not politics, as John was (INAUDIBLE).

There's a couple of very windy weather systems with strangely appropriate names.

VAUSE: I wonder what those names might be.


VAUSE: We'll reveal the mystery in just a moment.




SOARES: Now what are the odds?

VAUSE: I don't know, what are the odds?

SOARES: There's a storm brewing named Hilary.

VAUSE: Another tropical storm named Don but that one's fizzling.

What are the odds?

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hold onto your hat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Tropical Storm Don.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is Tropical Storm Don. Pretty small.

MOOS (voice-over): Small?

Small and not --


MOOS (voice-over): -- organized?

Forecast to degenerate?

Is that any way to talk about Don?

People have been reading a lot into the Caribbean storm that shares the president's name. The actual storm has unleashed a tweet storm.

National Weather Service released this first picture of Tropical Storm Don, warning, "Tropical Storm Don has just turned into a category 1 covfefe."

MOOS: Of course, Don, the storm, has no connection to Donald, the president. It's all coincidental.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the World Meteorological Organization comes up with the names and these are decided years and years before these storms actually happen.

MOOS (voice-over): But when this Don coincided with this Donald, Trump critics flipped their wigs.

"Tropical Storm Don is expected to be the first storm in U.S. history to cause widespread damage in every state of the union."

"Actually, the storm's prognosis is poor. Will dissipate with 72 hours, low energy. sad."

But there's an even freakier coincidence in the forecast.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Tropical Storm Hilary. Hilary and Don.

MOOS (voice-over): We kid you not. While Tropical Storm Don is weakening in the Atlantic...

GRAY: Hilary is actually gaining a little bit of momentum in the Pacific. MOOS (voice-over): The name is officially bestowed once the tropical depression becomes a tropical storm. Hilary was simply next on the official list of Pacific storms.

Tweeted one critic, "Well, the good news is that Tropical Storm Hilary has no chance of hitting the White House."

Who could have imagined these two would coincide, two forces of nature and a forecast of cloudy with a chance of collusion? -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SOARES: And you have been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isa Soares.

VAUSE: I was going to say the odds are about the same of Donald Trump actually becoming president.

I'm John Vause.

SOARES: I knew that was coming.

VAUSE: The news continues with Rosemary Church. She is in Atlanta. We're out of here. CNN continues. You're watching the world's news leader.