Return to Transcripts main page


Donald Trump Slams Hand-Picked Attorney General; U.S. Defense on Alert over North Korea; A Veteran's Fight with Cancer; Justice for Refugees; Freedom After a Decade in Prison. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 20, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump slams his own hand-picked attorney general. In a new interview the U.S. President is also going after the special counsel investigating his campaign's possible ties to Russia.

Plus, why the U.S. believes North Korea is getting closer to another ballistic missile test.

And O.J. Simpson pleads his case. A parole board will soon decide if he'll walk out of prison after nearly a decade.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. Senate investigators are about to get some answers about the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia. The president's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, will appear before the intelligence committee on Monday. That will be a closed-door meeting, but on Wednesday, Donald Trump, Jr. and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will meet in an open session with the judiciary committee.

Well, U.S. President Donald Trump is lashing out at the country's top law enforcement officer in a new interview with the New York Times. Mr. Trump says he would not have picked Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

It's not the first time the president has been critical of Sessions, but it's especially surprising since the former senator was one of the first to support Mr. Trump's presidential bid.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have -- which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, thanks, Jeff, but I can't -- you know, I'm not going to take you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: The president also had some harsh words for former FBI

Director James Comey and a warning for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller. More on that later this hour.

We are also learning new details about the Russian-born real estate developer who attended that meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. last year. The middle man who arranged it promised damaging information from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton.

CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ike Kaveladze's attorney insists the businessman's presence inside Trump Tower during that June 2016 meeting was innocent.

SCOTT BALBER, ATTORNEY FOR EMIN AND ARAS ALGALAROV: Well, he was intended to be there, his understanding to be actually a translator, interpreter for the Russian lawyer who speaks English.

SCHNEIDER: But sources tell CNN Kaveladze was there to represent his employer, Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, who was said to have requested the meeting. Now, lawmakers current and former are raising alarm bells about Kaveladze's past.

In a Facebook post, former Michigan Senator Carl Levin pointed to a congressional probe in 2000 where according to Levin, the government accountability office looked into numerous corporations and bank accounts established by Kaveladze on behalf of people in Russia.

Levin said Kaveladze set up 2,000 corporations and bank accounts where the owners of those accounts then moved some $1.4 billion through those accounts. Kaveladze was never criminally charged. He denied any wrongdoing and claimed he knew all of the entities who set up the accounts.

But Levin called him a poster child of this practice, and Senator Mark Warner said Kaveladze's involvement with that 2000 congressional investigation is part of a colorful past that should raise suspicion about his presence in the meeting.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: I doubt if this individual who had a history of setting up thousands of fake accounts in Delaware was really there to talk about Russian adoptions.

BALBER: He has never been implicated in any wrongdoing whatsoever. So to say he has a colorful past is quite unfair and quite frankly dishonest.

SCHNEIDER: Balber stressed Kaveladze has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his ongoing probe into Russian interference with the U.S. election. Notably Mueller's team include several attorneys who specialize in money laundering investigations. MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think that Bob has thought all along that there is going to be some need to inquire of this money laundering movement, and that's what I think is the beginnings of what we're seeing.

SCHNEIDER: Meanwhile, the Russian lawyer in the room, Natalia Veselnitskaya tells Kremlin-backed news channel Russia Today she's happy to disclose details about her meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. if she gets a guarantee her family will stay safe.

[03:04:56] NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, RUSSIAN LAWYER (through translator): Let's put it this way. I'm ready to clarify the situation behind this mass hysteria. But only through lawyers or testifying before the U.S. Senate. So today I have to think of my safety first and foremost, about the safety of my family, my four children.


CHURCH: And CNN's Clare Sebastian joins me now from Moscow for more on this. So, Clare, what stood out from that report from Jessica Schneider is the concern that Veselnitskaya had for her own safety if she testified. Why does she fear for her and her family's safety, do you think?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, it certainly seemed watching that interview that she is spooked, is concerned by all the attention. She at one point accused that R.T. journalist of basically stalking her. She said, I don't know how you found me.

I think she's worried about all the kind of the furor that's grown up around this meeting. It's not exactly clear why she thinks that she might be at risk, but she did confirm to CNN that she was willing to testify but said that she wouldn't say any more without her lawyers.

But the other interesting thing about that interview that she gave yesterday is the evolution of her story because Natalia Veselnitskaya has insisted all along that she was only in that meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. to talk about the Magnitsky Act, that package of sanctions against individual Russians that came in in 2012, that she has been an advocate against for a long time.

But she added a few layers to that in that interview. She said that she never knew Rob Goldstone, the publicist who was an intermediary really who set up that meeting as a favor to Emin and Aras Agalarov, those real estate agents who Donald Trump knew from the 2013 Miss Universe competition in Moscow.

And she also said that she'd wanted to talk to Donald Trump, Jr. about Bill Browder, an American-born financier, who was the employer of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer who that Magnitsky Act is named after.

So there's a kind of an evolution in addition of details in this story, which has characterized kind of the entire affair surrounding this meeting. But certainly if she does testify, more will come out and we should get some clarification on all of this. CHURCH: Clare, I wanted to turn to the interview that President Trump

did with the New York Times where he said he was discussing the adoption issue with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit dinner. What did you make of that? Why is that proving to be such a big issue?

SEBASTIAN: Yes. It's an interesting one because he said to the New York Times that, you know, this was something that he found interesting, this adoption issue, that it was something that Putin ended years ago. And he also pointed out that this was what was discussed in that meeting in Trump Tower that Donald Trump, Jr. held with Natalia Veselnitskaya, that Russian lawyer, among other participants.

But certainly it does seem plausible perhaps that it came up this adoption issue is a big issue for Vladimir Putin. It was the way that Russia retaliated in 2012 to those sanctions on individuals, the Magnitsky Act placed.

So, you know, this is in a sense talking about sanctions. So certainly it is, you know, something that the Russian side wants to see resolved. They have for a long time been very upset about those Magnitsky sanctions imposed on individuals and certainly the Russian adoption, the adoption -- the ban on adoption of Russian children by U.S. families caused a fair amount of chaos on both sides.

So I think, you know, there's no official comment here in Russia from the Kremlin on that second meeting between Putin and Trump at the G20, but the adoption issue certainly continues to be one that keeps recurring, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, it does appear to be, doesn't it? Clare Sebastian joining us there with a live report from Moscow, where it is 10.08 in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, the Trump administration reportedly will stop supporting moderate Syrian rebels who oppose the regime of Bashar al-Assad. According to the published reports, U.S. President Donald Trump decided to end a secret CIA program about a month ago before meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany.

Mr. Trump hinted at such a shift in the past, saying he did not think backing Syrian rebels was productive. The White House on Wednesday would not confirm the program is ending. Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said only that as far as she was aware, the issue did not come up when Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin spoke in Germany.

Joining me now to talk more about this is former CIA operative Bob Baer. He's also a CNN intelligence and security analyst. Bob, always great to chat with you. Thanks for being with us.


CHURCH: So the Washington Post reports that President Trump will shut down the CIA program in Syria that arms anti-Assad rebels. He has, of course, voiced opposition to the program in the past. But what would be the consequences of just such a move if this goes ahead? [03:10:00] BAER: Well, Rosemary, a couple things are going to happen,

is that the Saudis are going to be furious. This program wasn't particularly successful, but it was symbolic, it was symbolically important because they oppose the Assad regime.

It's going to be, you know, a setback for the Turks, who are determined to protect the Sunnis in Syria. You know, and it's going to demoralize the opposition essentially. That's what going to happen. And you have to remember that nothing was given in exchange for withdrawing what's called this lethal finding, the CIA giving arms and training. So they're going to be particularly demoralized, and Assad is going to feel that he's got a free hand to go after them.

CHURCH: So what do you make of the timing of this decision? The Washington Post reports it was made nearly a month ago ahead of President Trump's meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who we know opposes the rebels. How significant is that, do you think? And you mentioned that nothing was given in exchange. Explain what you mean by that.

BAER: Well, normally in a situation like this, you would go into -- it would be part of a ceasefire between the rebels and Damascus. It would be, you know, giving protected areas to the Sunnis where they couldn't be hit from the air or from artillery. There's all sorts of things that you could have given the opposition in return for this.

But what it looks like to me, is that Trump simply decided he was going to hand a gift gratis, you know, to Putin when he met him in Hamburg. And that's clearly what he's done. For me, an ex-CIA officer who has worked in Syria for years, I was just in Syria. This is just very bizarre, very bizarre in diplomatic terms, in intelligence terms.

You know, and it makes you wonder about the motivations of Trump. I just -- you know, I cannot fathom what he is after and what sort of strategy he's after with the Russians.

CHURCH: What are the possible outcomes here, then? I mean is it naivete, or do you think there's something more to that?

BAER: I think, Rosemary, there's something more to it. I mean, this whole idea after he came back from Hamburg proposing a cyber-center with the KGB, you know, presumably they would be partners in this. The very people that hacked our elections, you're going to go into a partnership with them?

And then you go and meet Putin, and he says, listen, I didn't hack your elections, and Trump sides with Putin over 17 intelligence agencies. Frankly, Rosemary, that just stinks.

Look at the way the rest of the world's going to look at this. I mean, you have to wonder what sort of relationship, personal relationship, Donald Trump has with the Russians or, you know, is he indebted to them financially.

That question keeps coming up with in Washington. Why would you be so aggressive with the Russian -- I mean, so aggressively friendly or whatever you want to call it. It's just, you know, handing a gift like Syria, Bashar al-Assad, a mass murder, and in exchange for nothing.

It looks like he's doing Putin's bidding in the Middle East. We've essentially just given Syria to Russia. I mean there's no other way to interpret that. You know, he's given -- you know, at the expense of the Saudis, at the expense of the Turks, at the expense of NATO, you know, you go right down the line, and you say whose side is he on?

CHURCH: Is that a sentiment broadly held by the intelligence community?

BAER: Well, they say a lot worse things about him. They call him the Manchurian candidate. They haven't seen his tax returns. Is he getting money from Russia? Did he -- did the Russians bail him out? Who are his partners in Russia?

In this bizarre meeting with his son and his son-in-law with the Russians, saying, yes, we need your help in the elections, and then December, six months later, Jared Kushner, who was at the meeting, shows up, talks to the Russian ambassador, and says, we want to use your communications.

For somebody who has been in counterintelligence, done this for years like I have, it's very, very odd, and I have a lot of questions.

CHURCH: Bob Baer, thank you so much for sharing your perspective and your analysis on this. We always appreciate it.

BAER: Thank you.

CHURCH: President Trump has changed his mind for the third time in as many days on reforming healthcare in the United States. He's now urging senators to repeal and replace the current system known as Obamacare.

On Monday, he wanted repeal only with no replacement. And Tuesday, he said he would just let the system collapse. Senate republicans say they will move forward with a repeal-only plan next week, but that seems to be at odds with Mr. Trump.


[03:15:05] TRUMP: I'm ready to act. For seven years, you've promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option.

And, frankly, I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great healthcare because we're close. We're very close.


CHURCH: New analysis from the Congressional Budget Office doesn't look good for the republican plan. The Congressional Budget Office says it would increase the number of uninsured by 32 million by 2026. Average premiums would go up 25 percent in 2018. But the plan would slash the federal deficit by $473 billion over 10 years. Well, family, friends, and colleagues are rallying around longtime

U.S. Senator John McCain, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. The 80-year-old Vietnam War veteran is hailed for his decades of service to his country, and those who know him best say there's no one tougher and that he never backs down from a fight.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us about the diagnosis.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: With Senator McCain's permission, I had a chance to talk to his doctors at the Mayo Clinic about what has transpired with the senator over the last several days.

What we now know is an operation that he had on Friday to remove a blood collection just above his left eye inside his brain has now revealed to have been a glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma is a type of brain tumor. It's an aggressive brain tumor. It's a type of brain cancer. It's also the type of brain cancer that Senator Ted Kennedy had many years ago.

Senator McCain just found out this news recently. He and his family are now trying to decide what to do in terms of treatment.

This particular type of cancer has a prognosis of about 14 months of survival with treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy. There are people who have been longer-term survivors. About 10 percent of people survive five years or more.

These are all facts. These are all data that Senator McCain and his family are now dealing with. They're going to make that decision sometime over the next several days. We do know that before he can receive any treatment, he's going to have to heal from this incision that is just over his left eyebrow.

Senator McCain is at home. He's been able to recover with his family. He is said to be in good spirits, and we're going to get more details, and we'll bring them to you as we do.

This is Dr. Sanjay Gupta on assignment in Virginia.

CHURCH: And since the news broke, support has been pouring in for Senator McCain. Among those speaking out, his close friend, Senator Lindsey Graham.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We talked about five minutes, you know. It's going to be a tough way forward, but he says, I've been through worse. And basically then we started talking about healthcare and the NDA.

Literally it went five minutes until he turned away from what I think most people would have a hard time absorbing and focused on what he loves the best.

So pray. I don't know. God knows how this ends, not me, but I do know this. This disease has never had a more worthy opponent. Thank you.


CHURCH: McCain's opponent in the 2008 presidential race, former President Barack Obama tweeted this. "John McCain is an American hero and one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."

Former President Bill Clinton says, "As he's shown his entire life, don't bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery."

On Instagram, McCain's wife, Cindy, shared a picture from their wedding and here's part of her message. "We as a family will face the next hurdle together. One thing I do know is he is the toughest person I know."

And there was a powerful message from McCain's daughter, Meghan. "It won't surprise you," she says, "to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father. He is the toughest person I know. The cruelest enemy could not break him. The aggressions of political life could not bend him. So he is meeting this challenge as he has every other. Cancer may afflict him in many ways, but it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has."

Certainly powerful there.

We'll take a break here. But still to come, could North Korea be just days away from a new ballistic missile test? What U.S. intelligence is indicating. We'll take a look at that in just a moment.

Also ahead, dozens of people including a high-ranking military officer are found guilty in Thailand's largest human trafficking trial. We'll have a live report.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

U.S. intelligence is picking up some disturbing developments about North Korea's missile program. Sources say there are indications Pyongyang is preparing a new intercontinental ballistic missile test, one which could be just two weeks away.

Barbara Starr has more.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials tell CNN that U.S. spy satellites are picking up indicators North Korea is getting ready for another ballistic missile test.

Just two weeks after it stunned the world, launching its first intercontinental range missile capable of hitting the United States.

PAUL SELVA, UNITED STATES VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The North Koreans are moving quickly to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capability.

STARR: U.S. officials say the latest satellite intelligence shows Kim Jong-un's regime is testing radars that would use in a launch that could occur in about two weeks. Japan again showing the world its patriot missiles to defend against a North Korea attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are the last bastion of our missile defense system.

STARR: It's too soon to say whether it would be another ICBM, or an intermediate range missile capable of hitting somewhere in the Pacific. The second highest ranking U.S. military officer warning about a key North Korean advantage.

SELVA: I'm reasonably confident in the ability of our intelligence community to monitor the testing but not the deployment of these missile systems. Kim Jong-un and his forces are very good at camouflage, concealment, and deception.

STARR: The Pentagon cautioning the July 4th ICBM launch had its limitations on being able to hit a precise target in the U.S.

SELVA: What the experts tell me is that the North Koreans have yet to demonstrate the capacity to do the guidance and control that would be required.

STARR: But skeptics say North Korea's missiles must remain a top priority.

BRUCE KLINGNER, SENIOR FELLOW, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The U.S. has frequently underestimated North Korea's capabilities. When they've done some of their previous intermediate range missiles and some of their others, people were surprised that they landed where North Korea said they would land.

STARR: And the U.S. also keeping a sharp eye on a North Korean submarine about 60 miles offshore, watching to see what it may do next.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


CHURCH: In Thailand, a high-ranking military officer is one of the most prominent people found guilty in a massive human trafficking trial.

Dozens were convicted of trafficking Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. The operation was exposed in 2015 when some of the victims' bodies were found in shallow graves.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from Hong Kong with more on this. So, Alexandra, the details are horrifying. How did this all come to light, and how did the trial play out?

[03:25:01] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was that grisly discovery when authorities went into the jungle. They found this massive grave. More than two dozen bodies in it, near the border between Thailand and Malaysia. They identified these bodies as being those of Rohingya refugees who they believe were trying to make their way from Myanmar to Malaysia.

Some of the tens of thousands that were fleeing Myanmar at the time to escape sectarian violence. What they found when they discovered this grave was what they believe was a prison camp nearby that was run by traffickers, traffickers who were holding these refugees, torturing them, and demanding money from their families back at home.

The discovery of the bodies then led investigators to discover what they described as an extensive trafficking ring behind it.

More than 100 people were put on trial, Rosemary. It took a judge some 12 hours to read out the verdict. In the end, 62 of them were convicted. The suspects who were convicted including everyone from local authorities to civilians to even, yes, a high-ranking military officer.

Human rights activists, advocates for the Rohingya community, are saying that this is a big step forward, really a trial that is considered unprecedented. But they also say this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seeking justice for Rohingyas who may have suffered a wide range of abuses really, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, Alexandra, no doubt this is to send a message and a warning to anyone else who wants to try any of this. What will happen to those 62 people convicted for human trafficking?

FIELD: There are serious sentences here. We're talking about sentences that range from four years in prison to 94 years in prison, along with heavy fines for all those who were convicted of the trafficking offense.

A number of other charges were also levied here, and people were convicted of another -- of other charges including things like homicide and assault. There will be an opportunity for all those who were convicted to appeal those convictions in two different courts.

But prosecutors do say that these verdicts will send a strong message that Thailand won't traffic -- won't tolerate human trafficking and will make every effort to wipe it out. Rosemary?

CHURCH: It is a big message, and let's hope it is received by all. CNN's Alexandra Field bringing us up to date on that horrifying story from Hong Kong, where it is nearly 3.30 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

Well, U.S. President Donald Trump has a warning for the Justice Department special counsel. We will tell you about the one thing he says is off limits in the Russia investigation.

Plus, as some of the British royals spread the charm in Europe's biggest economy, both sides in the Brexit talks gear up to give a progress report in just a few hours from now.

We'll explain with a live report. Stay with us.


CHURCH: A very warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

North Korea could be preparing for another long-range missile test. Sources tell CNN U.S. satellites detected images and radar emissions showing a launch could happen in about two weeks. It would be the first test since North Korea successfully launched an ICBM on July 4th.

Longtime U.S. Senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer. The tumor was found last week after a procedure to remove a blood clot above his left eye. The senator and his family are reviewing his treatment options, which may include chemotherapy and radiation.

U.S. President Donald Trump is publicly criticizing the country's top law enforcement official. He told the New York Times he would not have chosen Jeff Sessions to be attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Scott Lucas is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, and he joins me now live from Birmingham in England. Always great to chat with you.

So some are describing this as a blockbuster interview where President Trump lashes out at his earliest political supporter, Jeff Sessions, attacks former FBI Director James Comey, and warns special counsel Robert Mueller not to look into his family finances.

What's your reading of this given it's all old news? Why would Mr. Trump give an interview like this to a publication he calls fake news on a day he should be focusing on healthcare?

SCOTT LUCAS, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Because generally Trump is concerned, frustrated that the Russia net is closing, and specifically he is saying through the attack on his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that he would like to fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller, but he can't do so.

So although he appears amiable during the discussion, this is a series of attacks to try to push the inquiry back, which he's been doing for months. He says that Sessions should not have of course recused himself, that he should have controlled the investigation.

He attacks former Director FBI James Comey for pursuing the investigation. Then he goes after Mueller and Mueller's team. He says they have conflicts of interest. Therefore, they should not be allowed to continue.

And he draws a red line. He says if Mueller or his team investigate his finances or those of his family, including Donald Trump, Jr. and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, then that's it. He will retaliate in some unspecified way.

CHURCH: All right. So let's break it down and look at the ramifications here. He criticized his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, saying he regretted ever appointing him. What might this mean for mr. Sessions' future? He doesn't have the support of his own president.

LUCAS: I mean, Sessions is a crippled and possibly dead man walking within the administration. He won't be fired. You can't get rid of Sessions because if you get rid of Sessions, you've removed another firewall over the Russia investigation.

And remember, Sessions himself, who did meet with Russians, including the Russian ambassador in 2016, may have stories to tell of his own. I think the issue, however, is really beyond Sessions, and it's with Mueller.

And it's with the finances if I can explain very quickly. We know that Trump Junior and Trump Senior had financial dealings with a number of the Russians who are involved in this inquiry, including the real estate tycoon who helped set up the June 2016 meeting between Trump Junior and Kremlin-link envoys.

It is alleged, I stretch alleged that in December 2016, that Jared Kushner discussed a loan that he badly needed for a billion-dollar project in New York with a Kremlin-connected banker, alleged.

Now, that is what the special counsel is probably investigating as well as -- please remember that the FBI's initial investigation, the reason why they got warrants from a top-secret court was because of the possibility that Russian banks funneled money into the Trump campaign last year.

CHURCH: All right. So let's look at that warning that Mr. Trump issued in the interview to Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the Russia probe. I want to quote it now if we can bring it up from the New York Times article.

"Asked if Mr. Mueller's investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family's finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, I would say yes. A warning not to do something, of course, usually ends up being an enticement, right, to do exactly that?"

[03:35:10] What does this signal to you?

LUCAS: Well, we know that two months ago, just after Mueller was appointed, after Trump tried to limit the investigation by firing James Comey, that Trump wanted to get rid of Mueller. We know that he was held back by White House staff.

White House officials have said that to media. Trump is not letting go of this, that he is going to try to say if Mueller stays, you can't trust him.

But it's interesting that the one person who has not spoken at all in two months since he was appointed is Robert Mueller. He's assembled 15 top attorneys for this investigation including those specialize and financial affairs, including former prosecutors.

It is known that the president is a target of the investigation. So Mueller is not going to be drawn into a public response. In other words, he's assembling his information, and if he has information that could have political or criminal significance, he will only reveal it when he can, let's say, swing at the king and not miss.

CHURCH: There will clearly be a lot more discussion, breakdown of this New York Times interview with the U.S. President. We will have to end it there, though. Scott Lucas, many thanks for your analysis. We always appreciate it.

Well, at the Brexit talks in Brussels, it's all about money. The first round of negotiations wrapped up later today ahead of a press conference. And the big question is how much will the U.K. have to pay to exit the European Union?

Well, CNN's Erin McLaughlin joins us live from the Belgian capitol. Erin, I put you right on the spot, how much will the U.K. have to pay to exit the E.U.? Does anyone have any idea?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we simply don't know, Rosemary, and it's very unlikely that we will find out today. This round of negotiations currently underway, an E.U. official telling me is more about informational.

Both sides informing the other side about their position on a number of topics, including the financial settlement, which with any sort of divorce is expected to be a contentious issue in this, especially when you consider some of the rhetoric we were hearing in the buildup to this round of negotiations.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson saying that the E.U, can, quote, "go whistle" in response to a question put forward by a reporter about reports that the E.U. is asking for billions in financial settlement.

It's really something that did not sit well here in Brussels as you'd expect. They look at this financial settlement estimated to be in the tens of billions to really represent the U.K.'s financial obligations, obligations it undertook as an E.U. member state though.

The tensions really seeming to be assuaged a bit with a statement that was submitted to parliament by the U.K. Brexit minister, acknowledging that financial obligations do in fact, exist.

So it will be very interesting to see what both sides have to say. The E.U, chief negotiator Michel Barnier, the Brexit secretary for the U.K., David Davis, they're expected to give a press conference later today.

CHURCH: Yes. And what are we likely to hear, though, in that progress report expected in just a few hours from now? MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're expecting an update on just that progress,

how this round of talks went because, remember, how these negotiations are structured, they're structured in series of rounds.

So we had this round of negotiations. Next month we're expecting another round. Then again, another round in September. The hope is that they will make enough progress on key areas, the financial settlement, the rights of E.U. citizens as well as U.K. citizens, what happens to them, the status of which has now been called into question because of the Brexit process, as well as other issues.

The hope being that they reach enough progress in those areas to be able to move on to discuss the future relationship. But in order to be able to do that, the E.U. council has to -- has to decide if that sufficient progress has been made, and that, the hope is, will happen at a European Council meeting in October.

CHURCH: All right. Joining us with that live report, Erin McLaughlin in Brussels, Belgium, where it is 9.40 in the morning. Many thanks to you.

Well, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on what some are calling a charm offensive in Europe amid the Brexit talks. The British royals brought Prince George and Princess Charlotte along on their five-day trip to Poland and Germany.

And their 2-year-old daughter was taking her diplomatic duties seriously, step by careful step, pleasing dignitaries at berlin's airport.

[03:40:07] Her parents were wowing the crowds too. Just take a listen.


CHURCH: Britain's foreign office asked the royal family to make the trip. It's seen as some soft diplomacy as Brexit negotiations wrap up the first round.

We'll take a short break now, but coming up next, he went from being a mega celebrity to a convicted felon. Now O.J. Simpson is just hours away from learning if he will be allowed to leave prison early.

And new details about what happened before an Australian bride to be was killed by a police officer in the United States. We reveal what Justine Ruszczyk told police in two 911 calls.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the family of an Australian bride to be killed by a police officer in the United States say they want her body to be returned to Australia. The heartbreaking statement comes as we learn more about what happened before Justine Ruszczyk's shocking death.

Transcripts show she made two calls to report a possible rape, saying she thought she heard a woman calling out for help. Ryan Young has more now from Minneapolis.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: New details tonight on the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk, the Australian-born woman killed by a police officer responding to her 911 call. But days after her death, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges says the basic questions remain.

BETSY HODGES, MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR: What happened? How -- how is it that Justine is dead?

YOUNG: Now revealed in the just released transcript of Ruszczyk's call to 911 about a possible sexual assault, 11.27 Saturday night, Ruszczyk tells a 911 operator, "I can hear someone out the back, and I -- I'm not sure if she's having sex or being raped."

The operator asks if she hears a woman screaming. "Yes, it sounds like sex noises, but it's been going on for a while, and I think she tried to say help." Eleven forty-one, Officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor pull into an alley behind her home. Their squad car lights off according to a police interview with Harrity.

Officer Harrity driving the car says they heard a loud sound that startled him. A moment later as Ruszczyk approaches the car, Noor shoots through the open driver's side window hitting Ruszczyk. The two administer CPR, but at 11.51, less than half an hour from her first call, Ruszczyk is dead.

Harrity's attorney has told the Star Tribune that it's certainly reasonable for the officers to have assumed they were the target of an ambush, citing the recent shooting of a New York City police officer just sitting in her police vehicle.

But the mayor expressed the frustration of many that Officer Noor has refused to talk.

[03:44:59] HODGES: People have constitutional rights. We cannot compel him to make a statement. I wish that he would. I wish that he would because, you know, he has a story to tell that no one else can tall.

YOUNG: In Australia, Ruszczyk's family and friends gathered on a Sydney beach to say good-bye even as outrage over her killing dominates the public and press.

CAROLINE MARCUS, REPORTER, SKY NEWS AUSTRALIA: It really bewilders a lot of people, how out of control the gun situation is in the United States.

YOUNG: Even an emotional Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke out.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: I mean how can a woman out in the street in her pajamas, seeking assistance from the police, be shot like that?

YOUNG: Ryan Young, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


CHURCH: After almost a decade in prison, freedom for O.J. Simpson could be decided in just a matter of hours. Simpson goes before a four-person Nevada parole board on Thursday over his 2008 conviction for an armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The former football star and Hollywood actor said he was trying to recover personal property from two dealers in sports memorabilia. The conviction came 13 years after his high-profile trial for murder in the deaths of his ex-wife and another man.

A sensational crime that ended in acquittal. Simpson's last parole hearing was in 2013.

Well, Simpson turned 70 years old earlier this month. Even if he's granted parole, the earliest date he could be released would be October 1st.

For a look at how Simpson has fared in prison, here is CNN's Paul Vercammen.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Northern Nevada, Lovelock medium security correctional center. O.J. Simpson's home since 2008 after his convicted for armed robbery and related charges in Las Vegas. From behind these walls, pictures emerging from insiders of Simpson playing fantasy football, coaching softball, staying out of trouble. The prison reports no incidents involving Simpson.

BROOKE KEAST, SPOKESWOMAN, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: He is not one that's in the limelight that we all know about, that there's a lot of lawsuits or issues with. He's not in that list. We don't hear from him much.

VERCAMMEN: Two former Lovelock guards say Simpson has not been affected by racist gang battles that can infect other Nevada prisons.

JEFFREY FELIX, FORMER LOVELOCK PRISON GUARD: Where blacks can't sit with Mexicans. Mexicans can't sit with whites. They can't intermingle with each other. By O.J. being at Lovelock, that took away all the politics.

VERCAMMEN: You just need to really keep an eye on him.

Former Lovelock Officer Jeffrey Felix wrote a short book about his relationship with Simpson called "Guarding the Juice." Felix and others told CNN Simpson gets little perks.

FELIX: Usually O.J. Simpson cuts in front of every line. Everybody understands that. It's just the way a life at Lovelock.

VERCAMMEN: Insiders say cutting included the food or chow line and O.J. gained a lot of weight. But Simpson's good friend. Tom Escotto (Ph) says Nevada's most famous inmate went on a health kick and may have lost more than 50 pounds.

Prison officials said that Simpson bought a 13-inch TV like this one for his cell, which inmates are allowed to do. But the ex-football star never saw those two series that stirred up so much buzz, the people versus O.J. Simpson, and O.J, made in America.

KEAST: We don't want to bring attention to one inmate over any other.

VERCAMMEN: Former guards say they call Simpson bottle head at Lovelock due to the size of his head. When Simpson advocates here to the parole board, they'll find out if they call him a free man.

Paul Vercammen, CNN, Lovelock, Nevada.


CHURCH: A parole board in Nevada will decide whether O.J. Simpson will stay in that prison or walk free. So let's find out more about what to expect at that hearing.

CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos joins me now from New York. Great to have you with us. So, after nearly nine years behind bars, how likely is it, do you think, that the parole board in Nevada will decide to let O.J. Simpson go free?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: O.J. Simpson is actually not a bad candidate for parole when you consider the vast majority of all the other people that the parole board sees. O.J. Simpson has had no disciplinary problems in prison. He's taken part in programs. He has no significant prior criminal record.

So this is a candidate for parole under Nevada's very, very set out in stone system for ascertaining whether someone is a high-risk offender or a low-risk repeat offender. And with that in mind, a parole board could still go either way.

CHURCH: That's interesting, but it sounds like you're more for the likelihood that he would be free. Of course, the 70-year-old Simpson will plea for his freedom to four parole board members for release in October. Who will likely be by his side, and how would you expect this all to play out legally?

[03:50:00] CEVALLOS: In all likelihood, he will be representing himself, and he will certainly speak. The most important person helping O.J. in that room tomorrow will be none other than O.J. Because the parole board is finely tuned to the sort of read the face of a potential parolee to see if they are eligible or if they're just sort of gas lighting them on or shining them on, which is what most people do when they want to get out of prison.

That's why the parole board is going to look at O.J.'s demeanor, listen to what he has to say. But they are also going to look at his relative points under Nevada's parole evaluation system, which is very point-intensive. And under any objective analysis, O.J. has low points, which makes him a decent candidate for parole. CHURCH: And if they do decide to release Simpson in October -- and

that's how it's looking at this point -- what happens after that? Where will he likely go, and what legal obligations will he have after that?

CEVALLOS: He will have to undergo -- he'll be a part of the parole system, which for many people, as with probation, can be a bit of an obstacle course. If you lead a disorganized life, you can't find employment, and you don't know how to call back your probation officer, parole can be really just like jail on the outside.

And you make a misstep, and then you're right back before the parole board for a violation. O.J. isn't likely to have that problem. He is retired, which sort of gets him out of the requirement for having to be employed. So he's someone who is likely to have his act together, likely to survive parole.

But parole and probation are no joke. They're not just getting out of jail free. They impose a lot of obligations, and these are the kinds of things that a less organized person might not be able to satisfy.

CHURCH: I did want to ask you this. Of course, many observers believe the long sentence of 33 years that was handed down to Simpson back in 2008 wasn't just for the robbery, but was payback for Simpson's acquittal in the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994 in L.A. Do you agree with that? Do you think that was the case?

CEVALLOS: I don't. Judges don't really get to do pay back for some unconvicted act, at least in the way you're talking about. What's more likely here is that O.J. was convicted of a number of felonies, both class a and class b felonies. Very serious felonies and a large number of them.

And in addition, the judge made a decision to consecutive his sentence. In other words, run them one after the other. And anytime a judge consecutives a sentence, you're looking at a lot of potential time as opposed to running the sentences all together at the same time.

So, no, I don't think the judge was giving payback for his earlier acquittal. I think the judge was following the sentencing guidelines. She didn't let him off light, but she gave him a sentence -- a reasonable sentence, and under the law she's allowed to consec or run his sentences consecutively, which can really add the years on for any defendant.

CHURCH: It certainly can. Danny Cevallos, thank you so much for your analysis. We appreciate it.

All right. Well, fasten your seat belts. Just ahead, we will go for a ride with the truck driver in chief and find out why Donald Trump has a hard time getting in gear. Back in a moment.

[03:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: His supporters say Donald Trump is steering the U.S. in the

right direction. But critics say he's driving the country off a cliff. Either way, the U.S. President has made it clear he likes to be in the driver's seat.

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He did it in March, and now he's done it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course his favorite activity, fake driving a truck.

MOOS: And both times, he's been mocked for it, most recently this week when he got into a fire truck parked at the White House.

TRUMP: Where's the fire?

MOOS: For a made in America event.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First he pretends to be a firefighter, then he dresses up as a cowboy. Is Trump trying to be all the village people before the end of his term?

MOOS: But every time the president gets in a big rig, something happens. Beware of the curse of the truck driver in chief.

When the president gets behind the wheel, legislation crashes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vote on healthcare, not happening today.

MOOS: Almost four months ago, the president got in a truck and blew the horn. But what really got blown that day was the house healthcare bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we know they're postponing the vote. The scheduled vote that didn't actually happen.

MOOS: Then this week the president climbed into the fire truck that's Sean Spicer visible in the side view mirror taking the president's picture. And guess what happened to healthcare in the Senate that day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bill is dead.

MOOS: We're not saying the president's fake driving made healthcare road kill. We're just driving home the coincidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How great is that?

MOOS: Even when the president gets behind the wheel of a golf cart, driving over a putting green backfired. Slate called it, "The most monstrous act of this or any presidency." Commented one golf fan, "I don't care if he's God. You don't drive golf carts within 20 yards of a green." At least when he drove the fire truck, he didn't turn on the siren,

even if healthcare was going up in flames.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues with our Max Foster in London.

You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a great day.