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"The Washington Post": Sessions Discussed Trump Campaign with Russian Ambassador; Sean Spicer Steps Down as White House Press Secretary; Minneapolis Chief of Police Steps Down; Middle East Violence; Russia Investigation; Trump's Shifting Foreign Policy; U.S. Citizens to Be Banned from Travel to North Korea; Is She Salvador Dali's Daughter?. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired July 22, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): An explosive new report contradicts the U.S. attorney general about his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Plus this: after six months on the job, the press secretary, Sean Spicer, hands his resignation in as another White House shake-up happens.
Also ahead: tensions on the street lead to violent clashes in Jerusalem's Old City. CNN is live ahead in Jerusalem.
Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
HOWELL: It is 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast.
The Trump White House once again dealing with an unprecedented amount of turmoil that threatens to undermine its agenda.
First, the press secretary, Sean Spicer, he resigned his position on Friday after a stormy six months on the job. Also, the administration dealing with new revelations about the U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions.
"The Washington Post" is reporting that Sessions discussed campaign issues with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, on at least two occasions last year.
The article is based on what Kislyak allegedly told his bosses at the Kremlin, that he was being monitored -- while he was being monitored, rather, by U.S. intelligence. It's possible that Kislyak was boasting or misrepresenting Sessions' remarks.
"The Washington Post" reporters Adam Entous spoke with my colleague, Anderson Cooper, about these revelations. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM ENTOUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": We knew about the meetings. We knew about them in March, that Sessions did not disclose them when he appeared for his confirmation hearing.
We were trying to figure out, what was the nature of those contacts, what was being discussed?
So what we've learned is basically what Kislyak sent back to Moscow. This is his account of his conversations, these two conversations, one in April, a second one in July, of his contact with Sessions.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So while Sessions didn't seem to remember any specifics about these meetings, Kislyak sent back specifics?
ENTOUS: Yes, at the end of his conversations, I assume he gets into his car and goes back to the embassy or back to his residence and then he writes a report. That's the way most ambassadors' diplomats operate.
COOPER: So what did he tell his Russian bosses?
ENTOUS: He told them what he thought they discussed, which was campaign issues; in other words, what the relationship would be like between a future Trump presidency and the Russian government, the kind of thing that Kislyak was under orders from his boss, Putin, to try to get information about.
Kislyak was doing exactly his job, which is basically meeting with people in the Trump campaign, trying to get information about how that campaign would actually deliver on some of its rhetoric during the campaign, if it was elected. And so that way Putin can make a decision about what he thinks of this relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: In the wake of "The Post" reporting, the U.S. Justice Department said this, "The attorney general stands by his testimony from just last month before the Senate Intelligence Committee, when he specifically addressed this and said that he never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election."
Now let's compare that to what Jeff Sessions said back in March of this year. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-ALA.), U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me be clear. I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.
And the idea that I was part of a, quote, "continuing exchange of information" during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government is totally false. That is the question that Senator Franken asked me at the hearing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with James Davis. James from the University of St. Galen in Switzerland, dean of the School of Economics and Political Science.
It's good to have you with us this hour here on NEWSROOM.
So we just heard a moment ago, Jeff Sessions, what does all of this do to his credibility?
Where does he stand right now, given this reporting directly contradicts what he said, that he didn't have meetings first, then that he didn't have meetings about the campaign or policy issues?
The story keeps changing.
JAMES DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF ST. GALEN: Right. The story keeps changing and attorney general Sessions just can't seem to come clean with all of the story. And I think that's the problem with this administration.
DAVIS: Every time it's about Russia, people seem to have forgotten meetings, people seem to have downplayed meetings. And in a sort of drip-by-drip process, we get more and more.
Obviously, Ambassador Kislyak was doing his job. That's what ambassadors do. They collect information about elections in the countries to which they are posted. They give that information back. They seek out context.
And there's actually nothing wrong with the senator meeting with a foreign ambassador.
But if there's nothing to hide, why keep changing the story?
Why keep forgetting the meetings?
And that's what the problem is.
On top of that, of course, we have the interview with the president last week in "The New York Times," where he himself suggests that he's somewhat disappointed with his selection of Sessions. So I think all of this take together puts Sessions in a very precarious position.
HOWELL: All right, as you, you know, point to here, all of this happening at a time where the president offered very sharp rebuke for his attorney general. This recent interview that he gave to "The New York Times," let's listen to what he had to say and we can talk about it here in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have that -- which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president.
How can you take a job and then recuse himself?
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)
HOWELL: This is a president who makes it very clear, loyalty is very important, is valued highly by President Donald Trump, saying that he wouldn't have put him in this position had he known that he would recuse himself.
So the question to you, is this a gift to President Trump, at a time where the relationship is rocky between both men and the president is facing some serious legal questions here?
DAVIS: Well, I mean, I would ask a different question.
I would ask where did this information come from precisely at this moment?
It seems to me somebody's got it out for the attorney general. As you suggest, this does come at a good time for the president. Now he has even more reason to suggest that the time might be coming to replace the attorney general.
The president is also clearly concerned about this Russian investigation. We saw that in "The New York Times" interview, the remarks he made about the special counsel, Mueller, and trying to challenge the credibility of that investigation, in particular if the investigation were to get into the financial dealings of the Trump family with Russians.
All of this suggests that there's quite a lot of concern in the White House and the president is trying to get on top of this story. But, of course, he can't because this story has now sort of taken on a life of its own, largely because his team has refused to or neglected to come clean on all of these issues.
HOWELL: It is important that you point out the simple fact that this leak, it's a very big, very important bit of information that's come out.
And the question, where did it come from, President Trump has indicated before that he wants to crack down on leaks.
Also important to mention the context here, that there is a rocky relationship between this president and the intelligence community. You'll remember President Trump has discredited the work, the hard work, of many of those men and women in intelligence, even with other world leaders.
So just questioning, you know, where that came from. It's a big question, for sure.
I want to talk about this question now, what happens with attorney general Jeff Sessions?
Does he stick around?
Or is there a chance that he could be shown the door?
DAVIS: Well, I think there's two questions.
The first question is, you know, what is the -- what does the president think about the attorney general right now?
Does the president still have confidence in the attorney general?
And does the president think that the attorney general is an asset to him?
The minute he thinks he isn't, then the prospects for the attorney general are probably precarious.
The other question is, of course, what is the attorney general thinking?
Does the attorney general want to continue to be the focus of this type of attention?
Does he think this is hindering his ability to do his job?
So I think his position is very precarious at this moment and we'll see where it comes out.
It's going to be an interesting week. We have the president's son, we have Mr. Manafort, we have Jared Kushner, all going up to the Hill to testify on this Russian investigation. And we'll see what comes out of this ongoing investigation.
But I think the big story is, of course, is that this story isn't going away.
HOWELL: James, stick around with us. We'll be back with you in a moment because I want to go ahead and set this other story up for our viewers, get some context from you in a moment.
But the White House communication shake-up, that has happened. Sean Spicer says President Trump didn't want him to leave that job as the press secretary. But after six months on the job, Spicer resigned --
HOWELL: -- on Friday after Mr. Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as the White House communications director. Our Jessica Schneider breaks it down for us.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A seismic staff shake-up in the West Wing, Sean Spicer out as press secretary after six tumultuous months.
Spicer submitted his resignation minutes after Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump campaign fund-raiser, accepted the job of communications director.
SCARAMUCCI: I'm a business person and so what happens in business a lot of times is you have some rotation in personnel as you're making changes and you have lifestyle choices that people are also making.
SCHNEIDER: Scaramucci announced Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will move into the role.
SCARAMUCCI: Sarah is going to be the press secretary, right?
OK, so congratulations to you, Sarah.
SCHNEIDER: President Trump asked Spicer to remain on staff, according to a top Republican adviser and White House official, but Spicer decided to step down instead, a move that shocked White House staffers.
A source familiar with the changes says the president has been pushing to add Scaramucci to the staff for some time, but Spicer opposed the move, since Scaramucci isn't a Washington insider.
Scaramucci is known as a Wall Street wheeler and dealer who started his career at Goldman Sachs and has appeared frequently as a surrogate for the president on cable TV. Scaramucci denied any problems with Spicer and chief of staff Reince Priebus.
SCARAMUCCI: But I don't have any friction with Sean. I don't have any friction with Reince. This is the White House.
SCHNEIDER: Scaramucci pledged to use his role to highlight the advances the White House is making that he says the media isn't paying attention to.
SCARAMUCCI: The president himself is always going to be the president. I was in the Oval Office with him earlier today and we were talking about letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity.
I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Before I get to the news of the day, I think I would like to discuss a little bit of the coverage of the past 24 hours.
SCHNEIDER: Spicer first stepped up to podium the day after the inauguration to lecture the media about reports that the crowd size was significantly less than President Obama's first inauguration in 2009. SPICER: This was a largest audience to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
SCHNEIDER: Spicer seemed to be sidelined at the White House and on the president's trips abroad.
In recent weeks, Sean Spicer was frequently replaced in daily press briefings by Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the president left Spicer off the list for an audience with the pope in late May.
Sources say Spicer fumed to colleagues about being excluded when other West Wing staffers like communications adviser Hope Hicks and social media master Dan Scavino were in attendance.
Spicer's place at the podium was widely spoofed on "Saturday Night Live." He became a household name, as comedian Melissa McCarthy took shots at his combative reputation.
Spicer says his departure won't be immediate, tweeting, "It's been an honor and a privilege to serve POTUS @RealDonaldTrump and this amazing country. I will continue my service through August."
The president issued a statement thanking Spicer.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: "I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings."
SCHNEIDER: The president pointing there to his penchant for television spectacle. In that same vein, Anthony Scaramucci was asked if we could see a return to the regular press briefings anytime soon or even if we could expect a presidential news conference. To that end, Scaramucci would only say "Stay tuned." -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, the White House.
HOWELL: Sean Spicer spoke about his decision to leave. Here is what he said earlier to FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: He's been very gracious throughout this process. He wanted to bring some new folks in to help rev up the communications operation.
And after reflection, my decision was to recommendation to the president that I give Anthony and Sarah a clean slate to start from so that they can talk about the president's agenda and help move it forward.
He, after some back and forth, understood that the offer that I was making was something that was in the best interest of this administration. I thanked him for the opportunity and I'm looking forward to watching Anthony and Sarah do a tremendous job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Sean Spicer on FOX News.
Again, let's make some sense of it all with James Davis, again, joining us in Switzerland to tell us more about what we just heard there.
Are you surprised by this?
DAVIS: Well, I'm not surprised but, of course, I think the White House is once again demonstrating that it's really amateur hour there. We have not had a White House that's been able to keep on message since the inauguration.
I don't think this week was a week when they wanted to have the weekend with basically personnel stories, whether it's the resignation of Spicer, the appointment of Scaramucci, the controversy surrounding the attorney general. We have a White House that's not able to keep on message.
So the idea is, of course, we're going to bring in Mr. Scaramucci and he's going to bring some discipline to this. I understand that.
But the problem, of course, is that the president is the one who is bringing the undisciplined approach to governing into this White House. And the question will be whether Scaramucci, who seems to be an intimate of the president from his New York days, whether he is going to be in a position to get this guy disciplined, on --
DAVIS: -- message, on target.
You know, ending a week like this is not helpful when you're trying to move a legislative agenda forward. And so we're getting nowhere on health care reform, we're getting nowhere on tax reform and, you know, we're talking about personnel questions.
HOWELL: Well, just to be fair, because what about those viewers who may hear what you said, that this is amateur hour and would push back to say, well, there are changes in this position by other administrations?
This happens, it's common.
Is that a fair question?
And then the other part to that is, what can Scaramucci bring to the press office that hasn't already been delivered?
DAVIS: Right. No, you're absolutely right. Administrations always have to adjust as they move forward.
And there's nothing unusual that, within the course of the first year of administrations, some people move in, some people move out; people don't always perform as you thought they would.
But I don't think that's the issue here. The issue here is that the White House is unable to put out a coherent message, largely because the president is so undisciplined. He contradicts himself with within the space of one day, whether it's a question on health care reform or a question on policy in Syria.
I mean the number, the examples of him contradicting himself within the space of a day by Twitter are numerous.
And so the question is, you know, is this guy, Mr. Scaramucci, going to be able to bring the discipline that's necessary to have a coherent message?
And you have to have a coherent message if you're going to try to govern.
I think the skills he brings are obviously -- he's been a successful businessman, he obviously knows how to organize his affairs. And I think the most important asset he brings is that he's obviously got the trust of the president.
The question is, of course, does he know much about communication?
He's made his career in hedge fund management. So we'll see if he can transfer those skills into this field.
HOWELL: As they tell us, stay tuned, I suppose. James Davis, thank you so much for being with us.
DAVIS: Thank you.
HOWELL: This is CNN NEWSROOM.
Still ahead, this tragic shooting of an Australian woman in the city of Minneapolis. We're following that because the police chief in that city has stepped down, though some activists are making it clear there, it's not enough.
Plus, more violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. What we know about Israelis and Palestinians reportedly killed on Friday -- ahead.
And later, U.S. tourists might have to cancel their North Korean vacations. Washington's latest move against Pyongyang as CNN NEWSROOM continues.
HOWELL: In the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the chief of police there has stepped down. This over the recent death of an Australian woman. The victim, Justine Ruszczyk, had called officers to report a possible crime near her home.
Instead, she was shot by one of the responding officers and now her family and activists are demanding answers and they're expressing their anger. Our Ryan Young has more.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An explosive night in Minneapolis, Mayor Betsy Hodges trying to talk about her changing the police chief, a position that she believes needs new leadership.
But protesters weren't hearing that. In fact, they made their way into the locked city hall, made their way into the news conference and then took it over.
When Justine Ruszczyk was shot and killed, the police chief here, Harteau, was not in town. In fact, she didn't come back from vacation for four days. And that was too much for the city to handle. There's been a lot of conversation about what's been going on for days in terms of that.
In fact, she was posting vacation pictures. And that had many people in the city calling for change. In fact, city council members believe they had more control over city departments and not the police department.
This afternoon, the mayor said she asked the police chief to step down.
BETSY HODGES, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS: As far as we have come, Chief Harteau is not in a position to lead us further. Both the chief and I concluded we need new leadership at MPD.
YOUNG: Despite all the drama at city hall, we learned that the state investigators were able to talk to the man riding a bicycle nearby just after the shooting happened. In fact, he witnessed officers trying to help Justine Ruszczyk in that alleyway.
Police have now been able to identify him. They haven't told us who that man is just yet. As investigators still work through this case, they tell us there may be some more updates later on.
But what we do know is Mohamed Noor, the officer involved in this case, and his attorney have still yet to talk to investigators -- Ryan Young, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
HOWELL: Ryan, thank you.
Earlier this week, Ruszczyk's fiancee met with the mother of another recent victim of police violence. A law enforcement officer killed Valerie Castile's (sic) son, Philando, close to Minneapolis last year. He was shot five times during a routine traffic stop. Castile (sic) said, "The spirit of my son led us over here," and she comforted Ruszczyk's loved ones. Following now the latest wave of violence in the Middle East, it continues to escalate. Israel says three of its citizens were killed on Friday in a brutal stabbing attack that took place in the West Bank.
Officials say the assailant was a Palestinian, who climbed the fence of an Israeli settlement. The fourth Israeli was wounded and the suspect was shot and hospitalized. Hamas then later appeared to praise that attack on Twitter. All of this coming after days of violence in Jerusalem.
Palestinian officials say three Palestinians were killed Friday in clashes with Israeli forces. Let's bring in CNN international correspondent Ian Lee, live from Jerusalem at this hour.
Ian, first of all, what more can you tell us about this the gruesome stabbing that took place in the West Bank?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, it took place last night when this family was celebrating Shabbat dinner. That's when this Palestinian man was able to infiltrate this Israeli settlement and kill these three people, injuring one other person.
And it wasn't until the cries for help from the family from that house that a neighbor was able to come over and shoot and injure this Palestinian man. We are hearing from the Israeli military that they looked last night to see if he had any accomplices. But right now, they do believe he was acting alone.
HOWELL: What more can you tell us, Ian?
I know you've been covering this. Just give us some context, help us understand the violence from the other day.
LEE: Really, George, started about a week ago, the previous Friday, when two Israeli police officers were killed. The Israeli government implemented new security measures around the Temple Mount, also know as Haram Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary.
They put these metal detectors in, which has been that source of contention because worshippers do not want to go through metal detectors. They see Israel, -- this as Israel trying to encroach, trying to expand their control over the site. But a lot of those clashes, George, taking place just right here behind me near the Old City.
LEE (voice-over): Tensions turned prayer into protest. Both sides anticipated the violence this Friday, pitting Israeli police against Palestinians. Projectiles filled the air. Israeli --
LEE (voice-over): -- police used stun grenades, tear gas and water cannons. Palestinians throw rocks and fireworks, turning quiet Jerusalem
streets into battle zones.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just want us to leave the country and we're not leaving. We're going to stay here. They don't know this. There's no way for us to leave. Even if they came out of Jerusalem, there's no meaning for my life after that because everything that belongs to me is here.
LEE (voice-over): The day's violence, paid in blood. Here, the body of a dead Palestinian, leaving the hospital. One of several Palestinians killed in the volley. Hundreds more injured in Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to the Palestinian ministry of health.
Several security officers, too, sustained injuries, according to police.
MICKY ROSENFELD(?), ISRAELI POLICE: All the police units and the Israeli national police units responded to disturbances in Ras el- Amoud, Wadi Joz, Issawiya, where our police units are located, and are responding, using non-lethal weapons after both stones and fireworks have been fired directly at our police officers.
LEE (voice-over): This cycle of violence began over a week ago, with the killing of two Israeli policemen. New security measures around the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, infuriated Palestinians, who accuse Israel of trying to expand their control and limit access to al-Aqsa mosque.
"We all know al-Aqsa is for Muslims," Ali tells me. "The occupation crossed all the red lines. Those metal detectors prevent us from our right to pray freely."
Israel's prime minister insists he has no plans to change the rules governing the holy complex. Netanyahu says he'll stick to the status quo.
Meanwhile, authorities have deployed thousands of extra security personnel in and around Jerusalem. The violence seen here also playing out across the West Bank.
LEE: The police are pushing the protesters away from the Old City. You can see, here on the ground, pieces of concrete and rocks that they're throwing at the police.
The police are using stun grenades and rubber bullets to push them back but it's really been this game of cat-and-mouse.
LEE (voice-over): Police captured a number of protesters, more than 2 dozen arrested in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Police say the day's actions were designed to keep the peace.
But in a land where violence begets violence, clashes won't likely end the current turmoil. It's more likely to take a political solution.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LEE: And, George, that political solution just seems further off today. Yesterday we heard from Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, saying he's going to freeze relations between the Palestinians and the Israelis over this current -- this agreement over the metal detectors here, leading into al-Aqsa mosque.
And if that agreement can't come to fruition, it's likely we'll see more of these clashes -- George.
HOWELL: Just before 12:30 there in Jerusalem, Ian Lee, right in the middle of it all. Thank you so much for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you.
This is CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead, why Russia's foreign minister is cracking jokes about meetings with Presidents Trump and Putin.
We are live from Atlanta, Georgia, this hour. To our viewers in the U.S. and around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
HOWELL (voice-over): Live on the air in New York, Dubai, Tokyo, and all points in between, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM worldwide the this hour. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you.
HOWELL: The Russia investigation: after months of denials, the U.S. intelligence now directly refutes the U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, about his contacts with Russian officials.
"The Washington Post" reporting Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak told the Kremlin of two meetings that he had with Sessions in 2016, conversations that included campaign issues of high interest to Moscow.
According to "The Post," Kislyak's communications to the Kremlin were being monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies. This come after another "Washington Post" report revealed that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign.
CNN has now learned new details about that Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Russian court records obtained by CNN show that she represented a military unit tied to one of the country's intelligence agencies. She had previously denied that she was linked to the Kremlin.
CNN's Clare Sebastian following this story; a lot to talk about, Clare, this hour. First, this new reporting about Sergey Kislyak and the U.S. attorney general.
Remind our viewers, if you would, about the many meetings that have happened between the two and what happens next with Kislyak.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, absolutely, George. Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington since 2008, has been at the center of a lot of Russian controversy that has been swirling around Washington for the last --
SEBASTIAN: -- six-plus months. He has not only had meetings with Jeff Sessions. It's now been revealed he met with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, back in December.
"The Washington Post" reported back in May that Jared Kushner asked for a secret channel of communication through the Russian embassy in Washington.
And most notably with Michael Flynn, the then national security adviser, there was a conversation that's been revealed in late December during the transition where sanctions were discussed.
And the fact that Flynn initially misrepresented the content of that discussion was really what precipitated his firing just a few weeks into the Trump administration.
And this has really put Russia in a slightly awkward position. But they have throughout staunchly defended Sergey Kislyak, saying that his meetings with the Trump team were part of the ordinary course of his work in Washington. He's supposed to meet with U.S. officials.
And they've said that all of this is echoing the Trump administration in many ways. They've called this a witch hunt, McCarthyism at times. But as for Mr. Kislyak, he has come to the end of his tenure as Russian ambassador in Washington. The Russian embassy in Washington tweeted out pictures of a farewell event that they held for him Friday night.
He is, according to Russian media, expected back in Moscow today -- George.
HOWELL: Well, he had a lot of meetings with a lot of people who didn't remember, until they did, Clare. Let's talk about the Russian court records also, which show the Russian lawyer, who met with Donald Trump Jr., represented a military unit that was tied to one of the country's intelligence services. She has now responded.
What did she have to say?
SEBASTIAN: Right. She seems pretty annoyed by all of this, George. She has texted us a link to a response that she put on Facebook. I'm just going to read you a little bit of that.
She said, "Is this all your evidence?
"Disappointment. Dig into the case files more."
She then goes on to say she's represented all kinds of different people from Russian entrepreneurs to state organizations and even, she says, American citizens. So she's basically telling us not to read too much into in this.
And it is true that these court records that we have seen don't necessarily reveal a formal relationship between her and the FSB. There's just a -- you know, it's a property case that went from 2005 to 2013. As you say, she has denied any relationship with the Russian government.
HOWELL: CNN's Clare Sebastian, following the story live in the Russian capital. Thank you for the reporting today.
With a failed health care bill looming over his days in office, the jury is still out as to whether President Donald Trump is faring better on the world stage than he is in the United States on domestic policy.
From bombing a Syrian airfield to an on-and-off trade war with China, Mr. Trump's foreign policy has been difficult to predict in the last six months.
Our Phil Black asks if the unpredictability of foreign policy has actually made it more effective.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Donald Trump meets world leaders, you can't look away. Like any great spectator sport, there's the buildup, the tension. Often, there's great physical spectacle and there's emotion.
Sometimes he's effusively warm. Sometimes he's not. Each brief, unpredictable moment is watched and scrutinized in the hope it gives some insight into Trump's evolving feelings on the world's biggest challenges. Six months into his presidency, Trump's foreign policies can be highly fluid.
BLACK (voice-over): Trump surprised the world in April when he ordered a cruise missile attack against a Syrian regime airbase in response to its use of chemical weapons.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter.
BLACK (voice-over): Russia condemned that strike ferociously. But since then, the U.S. has pursued policies seen as much friendlier to Russian interests in Syria, backing a local cease-fire in the center's southwest while trying to negotiate similar deals in other regions.
And now, according to "The Washington Post," citing unnamed U.S. officials, ending the CIA program to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels fighting pro-regime forces.
Officially, the administration says no peace deal is possible with President Bashar al-Assad in power. But U.S. policy increasingly recognizes the reality: he's not going anywhere.
Trump has continued Barack Obama's policies against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, letting local forces handle the front line fighting with U.S. advisers, artillery and airpower providing crucial support.
BLACK (voice-over): The results: ISIS has been driven from Mosul in Iraq and the same looks set to happen in the Syrian city of Raqqa. But the human cost is devastating.
Much of Mosul is now rubble. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee. No one knows precisely how many civilians were killed. And ISIS isn't defeated. As it loses territory, it's expected to return to its roots as a deadly insurgency while still promoting terror around the world.
The North Korea problem has only grown on Trump's watch. As Pyongyang pursues its nuclear ambitions, recently successfully testing an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, Trump has again followed his predecessor by trying to work with China.
He's focused on building personal rapport with Chinese president Xi Jinping and thanked China for its efforts. And he's also accused Beijing of not doing enough, contradiction inspired by frustration.
Trump and South Korea have responded with joint military drills, despite China's objections, and Trump hasn't ruled out a direct military response.
TRUMP: Once of the worst deals I've ever seen is the Iran deal.
BLACK (voice-over): Donald Trump has never hidden his contempt for the Obama-brokered Iran nuclear deal. But six months into his presidency, he hasn't torn it up.
On this, his administration is conflicted, twice officially certifying Iran's compliance while also fiercely criticizing its behavior.
Trump is trapped between European allies, who want the agreement to hold, and the strong feelings from Israel and Arab states, which view Iran as a threat.
Trump appeared more decisive with that other international deal he hates, the Paris climate agreement. World leaders lobbied hard but Trump declared he's pulling out.
Or is he?
TRUMP: Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord. We'll see what happens. But we will talk about that over the coming period of time. BLACK (voice-over): Six months in, analysts say sending mixed messages has become a consistent pillar of Trump's foreign policy. So has his willingness to lecture or ignore established allies while working very hard to charm traditional adversaries -- Phil Black, CNN, London.
HOWELL: Phil, thanks for the report.
Still ahead, you might visit for the beaches and for surfing, might even stay for the missile tests and the military parades?
Well, how North Korea is trying to woo foreign tourists and whether they'll be able to go. Stay with us.
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
The death of college student Otto Warmbier may have been the last straw. The United States has had enough and is banning most of its citizens from traveling to North Korea. It says the move is due to the risk of arrest and long-term detention in that state. For more, here is our Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surfers charging exuberantly into the water, sandy white beaches with enticing waves, bike tours in the countryside. This isn't a travel ad for Costa Rica. These scenes are in North Korea, featured on a website designed to lure tourists to the secretive country.
The site says the tourist industry is, quote, "developing afresh under the wise leadership of supreme leader, Kim Jong-un."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: North Korea is interested in normalizing its appearance internationally and encouraging people to come there, as though it's your lovely East Asian, Southeast Asian beach that you'll want to go surfing at. However, that's so far from the truth.
TODD (voice-over): Now the Trump administration is countering the North Korean message, announcing it will ban Americans from traveling to North Korea, starting in late August.
Americans wanting to travel there will need special permission from the U.S. government. The State Department says it's doing this because of mounting concerns over the risk of Americans getting imprisoned by Kim's regime.
The announcement comes a little more than a month after the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student, who was arrested last year in Pyongyang for stealing a political poster and detained for 17 months. He was returned to the U.S. In a vegetative state. North Korea blamed it on botulism. He died just days later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to protect our own U.S. citizens. And sometimes we have to protect our own citizens from themselves. This nonsense must stop.
TODD (voice-over): Analysts say tourists account for a small part of North Korea's economy and American tourists make up a tiny fraction of that. But they say the money tourists do bring in is valuable foreign currency that goes into the pocket of Kim and his cronies and helps pay for their missiles and nuclear warheads.
That's why, with images of a gleaming capital, elaborate festivals, delightful food and rugged mountains, North Korea's tourism office is still begging people to sign up for tours.
One American tourist even saw a party on a beach and shared his video with us.
When CNN visits North Korea, government minders show off ski resorts, amusement parks, even a dolphin area. North Korea has just relaunched this website under a new domain, even in the wake of the Warmbier case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this just tone deafness on their part?
Or do they not care?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're interested in getting the attention of the United States and, by suggesting that they're a normal country, that anyone can go to visit, and that will be frustrating and irritating to the people the world over, who understand that it's anything but true.
TODD: Most of the tour operators we reached out to didn't tell us exactly what they think of this travel ban. But one of them, the general manager of Koryo Tours, said while he finds it understandable, he also says it's disappointing.
He says these tours promote people-to-people interaction between Americans and North Koreas and taking that away, he says, is un- American -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
HOWELL: Brian, thanks.
Justin Bieber won't be performing in Beijing, China, anytime soon. City officials have blacklisted the 23-year-old Canadian pop singer for, quote, "bad behavior." They say Bieber's antics while living abroad and during earlier
performances in China, well, have caused public resentment. But they declined to say specifically what he did to offend them.
Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, he might be her long-lost father. That's what one Spanish fortune teller says about Salvador Dali and soon she'll finally have an answer.
HOWELL: The eccentric surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, was said to have died childless almost 30 years ago. But, Thursday, Dali was exhumed in Spain, despite objections from the Salvador Dali Foundation. It's part of a long legal battle involving a woman who claims that she was his daughter. Nick Glass has this story.
NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The great ringmaster, the great showman of surrealism, the great mustache. For much of the 20th century, Salvador Dali, one of the most famous artists on Earth, (INAUDIBLE) for a TV ad for chocolate.
"Just crazy about the stuff," he said.
SALVADOR DALI, ARTIST: (Speaking foreign language)
GLASS (voice-over): But did Dali ever manage to father any children?
He certainly never acknowledged any during his lifetime.
MARIA PILAR ABEL MARTINEZ, ALLEGED DAUGHTER OF SALVADOR DALI: (Speaking foreign language)
GLASS (voice-over): Her name is Pilar Abel. She's 61; by profession, a tarot cards reader. For the last 10 years or so, she's been trying to legally prove that she's Dali's daughter. She thinks there's a strong physical resemblance, that she's simply Dali, missing the mustache.
Abel's mission may soon be over. A small team of forensic scientists entered the Dali museum in Figueres, Catalonia, where he's buried. A plastic casket was taken in. The work was carried out at night. And biological samples removed from the embalmed body. On a judge's order, there will be DNA tests.
The results are expected in a month or two. Dali's coffin has since been returned to its original resting place beneath this stone slab.
ABEL: (Speaking foreign language).
GLASS (voice-over): We're all familiar with Dali's art, the melting watches, his painterly exploration of the subconscious, of his dreams, the long-limbed horses and elephants and his fantasies.
But one biographer concluded that Dali was terrified of his sexuality, terrified of being impotent, was terrified he might be homosexual.
Dali and his Russian wife and muse, Gala, were together for over 50 years. But like his art, their relationship was anything but straightforward. For much of the time, they lived close to each other but apart.
Here's Dali in 1955, the summer when Abel says Dali had a fling with her mother. So the story goes, he was 51, she was 25. The affair allegedly happened in the Catalan village where Dali was a regular visitor.
By reputation, Dali's sex life was solitary. He once said, in his egotistical way, that, "Great geniuses always produce mediocre children and I don't want to go through that experience," he said.
Exhuming his body should, we hope, finally determine whether Salvador Dali, against his own judgment, fathered a child or not -- Nick Glass, CNN, London.
HOWELL: And that wraps this hour. I'm George Howell at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. For our viewers here in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. For other viewers around the world, "AMANPOUR" is up after break. Thank you for watching CNN, the world's news leader.