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President Trump's Transgender Military Ban; President Maduro Rejects U.S. Sanctions; Koreans Mark 64th Anniversary of Armistice to End War; Major Wildfires across Parts of South Europe. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 27, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:08] ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's transgender military ban done by tweet. Confusion about how it will be enforced.

SOARES: Warning. A new North Korean missile test may be imminent and it comes on the anniversary of the armistice. We're live near the DMZ.

VAUSE: And a breakthrough in HIV treatment. Proof that transmission of the virus can be stopped.

Hello. We'd like to welcome our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares.

NEWSROOM L.A. begins right now.

VAUSE: But we will begin with what appears to be explosive new infighting within the Trump White House. It's between the incoming communications director Anthony Scaramucci and the chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Within the last few hours Scaramucci sent out this tweet a short time ago. "In light of the leak of my financial disclosure information, which is a felony, I will be contacting the FBI and Justice Department, #Reince45" -- a reference to Reince Priebus.

SOARES: And CNN's Ryan Cillizza added this, "In case there's any ambiguity in his tweet, I can confirm that Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking."

VAUSE: Ok. Joining us now for more on this: Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman and CNN political commentator and Republican consultant John Thomas. Okay.

John -- what's going on in the White House right now?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly infighting. But it's no secret that Reince has been on the way out for a while. Trump just didn't know exactly who he was going to replace him with. So you're seeing Scaramucci kind of channel Trump in this.

He's new to the job. He wouldn't pick this fight if he wasn't aware that Reince is the next on the chopping block.

VAUSE: So -- I mean Caroline, we heard that apparently Scaramucci had dinner tonight with Donald Trump. Sean Hannity of Fox News was there -- former Fox News executive. Scaramucci is very similar in temperament to Donald Trump. Clearly he's going on the offensive here.

The question now, as John raised, how much longer can Reince Priebus last? When can we hear from him?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think it's very clear that he's on the chopping block. We agree on that in the sense that Scaramucci is going after leakers. He went after a leaker the first day he was in office, and now he is making, you know, a public statement about Reince Priebus being a leaker perhaps indicating that he might have leaked some previous information as well.

So I think that his days are numbered. And I think that this is a continuation of a shake-up that started with Sean Spicer.

SOARES: Quite a bombastic accusation.

THOMAS: I mean it is, and to do it via Twitter. But you know, you can imagine Scaramucci was brought in, in part to stop these leaks from happening.

I mean that's been a huge complaint of the President. We see it on his Twitter account regularly, saying the leakers need to be stopped. And the last -- you know, Sean Spicer did nothing to stop these leaks.

So if you're Scaramucci, you're coming, you just start chopping.

SOARES: And Reince recently said that they fight like brothers -- him and Scaramucci. This is --

VAUSE: It seems to have gone up a notch.

SOARES: It seems that that has -- things have definitely escalated somewhat.

VAUSE: So Caroline -- I mean this also appears to be this division that we've seen between the New York side of the White House, the Scaramuccis and Trumps, the newbies and the old Washington guard, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, who has since left.

HELDMAN: Right. And I think that the Trump administration is being a little short-sighted in not relying on the old guard because at the end of the day it's amateur hour oftentimes in the White House.

A lot of times folks don't know what they're doing. I would start with the President from the messaging that conflicts on Twitter. It conflicts perhaps day to day, conflicts with what the comms folks are saying.

It's not just an issue of messaging, though. I mean there is amateur hour from top to bottom in the White House. So to be letting go of people who actually know how the process works I think is a little foolhardy.

VAUSE: And stay with us because it does seem a lot of people are essentially saying it was amateur hour when Donald Trump essentially announced a new policy when it comes to transgender servicemen and women who are currently serving openly in the U.S. Army because of an Obama era policy.

That all changed with three tweets, three early morning tweets from the President essentially announcing that they would now be banned.

We have details from the Pentagon from Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump making military policy via Twitter, today suddenly announcing "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military"; sparking instant criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: I believe that is an awful decision. I served on active duty in the military. And I can tell you we don't care about gender orientation or identity or who you love.

[00:05:04] STARR: Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also saying "There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military regardless of their gender identity."

But some lawmakers agree with the decision, citing Trump's reasoning that the military cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.

REP. VICKY HARTZLER (R), MISSOURI: We need to spend every defense dollar where we need to. And this has been a real concern.

STARR: A 2016 RAM study concluded gender transition health care coverage for transgender military members would increase the Defense Department's health care costs by as much as $8.4 million, a tiny fraction of the Pentagon's overall $49.3 billion health care expenditures.

SARAH MCBRIDE, TRANSGENDER ACTIVIST: This isn't just about health care. This according to Donald Trump's tweets is about not allowing transgender people to serve at all.

STARR: That same RAM study put the number of transgender service members at between 1,300 and 6,600. Two unanswered questions: under President Trump's ban will those already serving be forced out? And what about Defense Secretary James Mattis, who just last month ordered a six-month delay so DOD could study the issue further? The Pentagon will not say if Mattis agreed with the sudden Trump announcement.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The decision is based on a military decision. It's not meant to be anything more than that.

STARR: Congress may not be done weighing in on this entire issue. Just recently the House defeated a measure that would have banned the Pentagon from paying health care costs for transgendered persons.

Barbara Starr, CNN -- the Pentagon.


VAUSE: Ok. Back to John and Caroline now.

Ok. So to me, this decision about banning transgender servicemen and women seemed to come from nowhere, but the back story according to the "Washington Post" is that it all started over a disagreement about the military paying for transgender transition therapies.

This is part of the reporting. Conservative lawmakers, many of them members of the House Freedom Caucus, had threatened to withhold support for a spending bill if Congress did not act to prohibit the Pentagon from paying for the procedures. The impasse broadly threatened government spending, but most importantly for Trump it potentially held up money that had been appropriated for the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep a promise he made during the campaign."

So John -- apart from, you know, throwing a few thousand hard-working, loyal serving transgender Americans under the bus, apparently these conservative Republicans, they did not want a total ban. They just wanted the money for the surgeries to be looked at, and Trump's gone for the total ban.

THOMAS: Yes. You know, I wasn't in the room to see the conversations he had with the military professionals. But he claims that the military experts said that they don't want these people serving in the military. So, you know, look, it's his prerogative.

We know that the military discriminates for a lot of things. If you have flat feet, you know; if you're unable to do the job for whatever reasons. So look, it's Trump's prerogative here.

But I also think just politically speaking it's fascinating. On the heels of the Democrat Party trying to shift more away from identity politics to an economic message, Trump has single-handedly shifted them right back to identity and away from the economy.

SOARES: I mean we're talking about prerogative there but let's put a little bit of context, a bit of meat on the bones because as a candidate, he made this promise. "Thank you to the LGBT community. I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs." That has been one of the promises and now we're starting to get a lot of comments on Facebook. Caitlyn Jenner responded with this tweet on Wednesday. "There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the U.S. military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?"

How much of this is just about policy -- John? How much is this basically trying to move away, cover the Russia investigation -- Caroline as well -- and really just trying for him to strengthen his base?

THOMAS: I don't think it's necessarily to distract from Russia although he'd probably love that. But he has to get through his agenda. He has to build that wall. He has to get his spending package for the military approved. And if he doesn't, his voters will hold him accountable.

VAUSE: Caroline.

HELDMAN: Does it make bigotry, right? We're talking about 15,000 transgender individuals.

THOMAS: I heard 2,000 by RAND but -- all right.

HELDMAN: Perhaps. And I'll cite a RAND report now, since your brought up RAND, that they actually said that transgender individuals serving in the military do not affect unit cohesion. It doesn't affect readiness or preparedness. And in fact we spend five times the amount of money on Viagra than we would on the health care for transgendered military service people.

So at the end of the day he's certainly playing to his base that have higher rates of transphobia and he's doing it for political reasons. And I'll just add as well that last month, 24 Republicans joined with the Democrats to get rid of this ban on these transgender surgeries.

[00:10:07] So he is -- Trump is circumventing the democratic process by trying to ram something through that Congress has already rejected.

VAUSE: Ok. You said John that, you know, Trump consulted, as he put it, "my generals and military experts".

Here's part of Wednesday's White House briefing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens to transgender service members now? Are they immediately thrown out of the military?

SANDERS: That's something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.


VAUSE: So Caroline, if this policy had been thought out, worked out, planned ahead, wouldn't they have that answer already and doesn't this sort of look like all those other major policy announcements that has come out of the White House like the travel ban. No one thought what chaos that would cause around the world? Similar situation.

HELDMAN: Absolutely. It's again amateur hour, right. So his tweets are at least -- or series of tweets are at least well crafted. But it's pretty clear that he looked at it and said, oh, I'm not going to get my wall. I'm not going to get my budget. Well, then let's just kick them out of the military. Let me tweet it.

It's not the way it works. The military -- Mattis is still waiting for a directive as to how this would be implemented. Who knows when it will actually be implemented or how it would be implemented.

So he's essentially made the mistake of letting the opposition know that there will be a delay in implementing this, which means lawsuit after lawsuit. They're going to follow the Muslim ban. The ACLU is already calling for lawsuits. A lot of organizations are simply going to be suing. And they now have time to prepare for that because of amateur hour in the White House.

SOARES: On -- I mean I was looking at some of the numbers because the President tweeted this -- if we can just show our viewers what he tweeted. He said he's doing this because, and I'm quoting, "tremendous medical costs". But the cost is actually tiny, minute.

And we've got a graphic here to show you just how small it is. Take a look. This is from the RAND Corporation study. Now, the red dot that hopefully we'll bring up for our viewers to see in this graph, amounts to 0.004. Can you see the red dot? It's probably on that corner there. You can just about see it.

That's how much it signifies in the whole context of it. That's 0.004 percent of the Defense health care budget. Do you know how much President Trump's weekend trips are to Mar-A-Lago according to "Washington Post"? Approximately $2 million each. So it's not about the money.

THOMAS: No. I mean I think the money argument is hard to make. Now, disproportionately if you think about the RAND study says there's somewhere north of 2,000. That's like we're arguing over 0.1 percent of all active and reserves serving in the military.

This is such a small -- we're getting, you know, completely worked up. Cost is probably not the best argument to make. He has to just say the generals told me this is the decision. They don't want them serving along. It complicates things in the barracks, whatever the issue is, and that should be enough.

VAUSE: I thought Mattis was on vacation anyway, the Defense Secretary. I don't know if (inaudible).

We need to move on very quickly because a big day on Twitter for the President. Continued to torment his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, tweeting out, "Why didn't AG sessions replace acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who is charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars, $700,000 for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the swamp."

Caroline -- there are so many things wrong with that tweet. It's factually inaccurate. But the question though, moving on, congressional Republicans have shown this near limitless capacity to put up with anything that Donald Trump does, no matter how bad it is. Does that stop with Jeff Sessions because it does seem that (inaudible) lawmakers are now rallying around the beleaguered Attorney General?

HELDMAN: Well, they're tepidly lobbying or rallying around him, right. So they're not going after the President. They're saying that we support Jeff Sessions.

And in fact, it's quite possible that if Trump fires him or pushes him out, that they will delay the confirmation process for the next person.

But my bigger concern is that this all goes back to Russia, right? I see this very clearly that Jeff Sessions has recused himself, so he cannot fire Mueller. Rod Rosenstein will not fire Mueller. He appointed him. But Jeff Sessions' successor could actually fire him.

So I see this as the first step in that. I think that might be the line where congressional Republicans will grow a spine and they will actually perhaps invoke or at least investigate charges of impeachment.

The emoluments clause hasn't been enough, the conflicts of interest with Trump's businesses hasn't been enough, the obstruction of justice with the firing of Comey hasn't been enough. But I think that Americans would flood to the streets if he gets rid of Sessions, appoints somebody, and that person fires Mueller.


THOMAS: I don't think Americans are really going to care. I think Sessions will get fired, but no, I don't think Americans are going to rush to the streets. I mean I think they're going to understand Trump's going this is a lawyer, and, you know, he's a good guy but he made some serious mistakes and he's got to go.

SOARES: Mueller or Sessions?

THOMAS: Sessions.

VAUSE: Recess appointment. Ok. Thanks -- Caroline and John. Thank you so much. Good to speak with you both.

[00:15:13] SOARES: The U.S. has slapped new sanctions on 13 current and former Venezuelan government officials for undermining democracy. The measures are meant to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to stop Sunday's controversial election.

SOARES: Well, Mr. Maduro is rejecting the move. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): You have all of Venezuela's support against this unlawful, insolent, pretentious country which sanctions another country. The imperialists of the United States believe that they are the government of the world and that Venezuelans can accept that the United States is the government of the world. We do not accept it and repudiate it.


SOARES: Well, the U.S. sanction come as opposition groups in Venezuela continue their two-day strike against the government. They say Sunday's vote to pick a special assembly is an attempt by Mr. Maduro to turn the country into a dictatorship.

Our Leyla Santiago has more now from Caracas.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The violence continues in what was day one of a 48-hour strike called on by the opposition, the government opposition, wanting to make a statement, speaking out against the government.

But the impact of the strike, which included a deadly clash, well that depends on what part of the town you find yourself in.

These young men, teenagers, children, are hiding their identity -- not hiding their thoughts on Venezuela's government. This is all part of a 48-hour strike by those opposing the government. For them, it's about --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democracy and freedom.

SANTIAGO: Frustrated by food and medical shortages, this is what they feel is necessary to bring change.

These makeshift road closures are really having an impact on traffic. Typically we'd see a back and forth, not the case today. All we really see, the traffic on the sidewalks, people having to walk to the places they need to be.

This is the east side of Caracas -- different story in another part.

This is the west side, dominated by government supporters, a place where talk on street corners doesn't support the opposition strike. And yet even in pro-government territory --

-- you may be able to find food, but many can't afford to buy it. Even she admits things are tough for everyone right now, no matter what side of town you live on.

And when you talk about the struggle for the people of Venezuela, it's really become somewhat of a desperation. I spoke to one young man who is part of the opposition who said he would give his life to get rid of the government that is currently in control because he wants to see Venezuela back to the way it once was, back when they used to be able to say that they were one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America.

Leyla Santiago, CNN -- Caracas.


VAUSE: Well, still to come here on NEWSROOM L.A., marking 64 years since the end of the Korean War. The troubling signs Pyongyang might celebrate with another missile test.

SOARES: Then from France to Spain, wildfires are scorching parts of southern Europe, affecting thousands. We have a weather update for you just ahead.


SOARES: Now, it's now Thursday on the Korean Peninsula. Both sides of the 38th parallel are marking the armistice that halted the Korean War 64 years ago. North Koreans celebrate the occasion as victory day and put on a large display of military might.

VAUSE: But the communist regime abruptly canceled a week-long beer festival that coincides with the anniversary. And there are growing concerns that Pyongyang is now preparing for another missile test.

SOARES: South Korea also has ceremonies planned for the armistice anniversary.

Our Will Ripley joins us now from near the demilitarized zone.

And Will -- often North Korea uses these sort of celebrations to showcase its military might as well as its muscle. Is there any intelligence either from the U.S. or from the South Korean side perhaps to suggest that they may be preparing for just that?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we don't know right now. It's raining in North Korea at the missile launch site in Kaesong (ph) where we have been observing -- the State Department has been observing by satellite heavy equipment rolling in, in recent weeks that they anticipate could be used for a ballistic missile launch. But the rainy weather could obviously have impeded any plans to do that today on what North Korea calls its victory day.

But they're continuing to observe the country -- observation even happening here. We're just near the DMZ, the demilitarized zone south of the 38th parallel that divides North and South Korea.

And you can see over the Imjin River there, that is North Korea, and there is military activity that soldiers here are always monitoring around the clock. Things have been relatively silent, but the State Department and South Korean military officials say it really could only be a matter of time because North Korea has been testing missiles at such a frantic pace. They are expecting military activity not just on holidays but any day.

SOARES: Yes. And the U.S. intelligence community meanwhile believes that North Korea's ICBMs may be ready, Will, as early as 2018. That's two years from previous estimates.

How worrying is this for South Korea, who only recently, may I add, had calls for dialogue telling North Korea basically let's talk?

RIPLEY: It is certainly troubling for South Korea, and not just South Korea, but the United States' military assets in Asia Pacific, Japan right in the firing line, and of course as these missiles continue to become more advanced, they believe now that the mainland United States could be within the target range of a reliable ICBM by, as you said, early 2018, far faster than analysts would have predicted just a couple of years ago.

This has happened despite round after round of increasingly strong sanctions. The North Korean economy actually grew by almost 4 percent last year despite some of the strongest sanctions the nation has ever faced, largely in part of their trade relationship with China.

And so what South Korea is trying to do is open up a dialogue with the north. They have reiterated just today that they would like to sit down and talk at the Panmunjom Village a short distance from where I'm standing right now that has been traditionally a location where the two sides have gotten together for peace talks. But North Korea hasn't responded.

The deadline -- South Korea's deadline was supposed to be today, the 27th of July. They've now pushed that back indefinitely. We just spoke with a defense official here in South Korea a short time ago who confirmed that they are willing to talk to North Korea at any point.

SOARES: Yes, in the meantime, talking of that dialogue, it may be impacted because we have heard from CIA director, Will, Mike Pompeo who hinted at regime change. Let's take a listen.


MIKE POMPEO, DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula to get those weapons off of that. But the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today.

So from the administration's perspective, the most important thing we can do is separate those two, right -- separate capacity and someone who might well have intent and break those two apart.


SOARES: So Mike Pompeo there, hinting at the ousting of Kim Jong-Un. Will -- what has been the reaction from Pyongyang to those words from Mike Pompeo?

RIPLEY: Predictably, North Korea was furious. This was very surprising to a lot of people, certainly here in South Korea where the President Moon Jae-In earlier this month said this country's goal is not regime change.

[00:24:55] Back in April, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States doesn't want regime change, but then you have the CIA Director Mike Pompeo saying not only that the United States would like to see the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ousted from power, but also saying that the North Korean people themselves would like to see him forced out.

So you had a predictable response, a threat of nuclear annihilation in the heart of the United States but what is troubling is that North Korea is getting closer and closer to having the actual weaponry that could accomplish, that could carry out a threat like that.

Most people don't think that North Korea's goal is to do that. They think these weapons are more of a self-defensive measure. What could change the game here and what could bring North Korea back to the diplomatic table, if you will, is that they are facing, analysts believe, their worst drought in the country in more than 15 years.

Droughts are very problematic for people in North Korea in those rural areas who depend on rain to grow their crops to feed themselves. So they're very susceptible to food shortages, and of course, you saw the big beer festival, the Taedonggang Beer Festival suddenly and mysteriously canceled.

So things are not all as they should be just across the border there in North Korea. But the military activity surely does continue, and we're monitoring it very closely here.

SOARES: Thanks very much there to Will Ripley who is near the DMZ. Thanks -- Will. Good to see you.

VAUSE: Major wildfires are sweeping through parts of southern Europe. In the south of France, more than 10,000 people were evacuated from the fire today.

SOARES: It's a crisis Portugal is also dealing with. 12 forest fires have been burning there. Nearly 2,000 firefighters have been deployed right across the country.

VAUSE: And there are problems with fires across many places in Europe -- is what I'm trying to say. Several areas are facing severe drought, high temperatures combined with strong winds, fueling the flames.

Derek Van Dam joins us with more. Derek -- how bad and how widespread are these fires?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, what you're looking at behind me is the drought conditions that are prevalent across the Mediterranean. There are literally hundreds of hot spots, but when we broaden this view, you can really focus in on the west coast of Italy into southeastern France, Corsica, Sardinia, the Iberian Peninsula. We have severe to even exceptional drought conditions that are helping to fuel the flames.

When you see images like this -- over 10,000 tourists and residents that had to flee to the coastal areas just to get away from the flames and the smoke -- this is in the south of France, it really is quite terrifying to see.

So let's focus in on the French Riviera because this area has a particular wind that is local to this region. It blows in a northwesterly directions; it's called the mistral winds. And it's typically cool and very dry, dry being the most important word.

Unfortunately the winds there in Marseilles just yesterday gusted to 90 kilometers per hour. So when it's extremely dry, you can imagine that this adds the tinderbox conditions to allow these fuels to continue to spread, not to mention the valleys and mountains across this region make it very, very difficult for the firefighters there to combat the fires.

Over 6,000 hectares have already burned. Unfortunately the extended forecast calls for the heat to continue to build through the course of the weekend and no rain in sight unfortunately -- John and Isa. Back to you.

VAUSE: Ok. Derek -- thanks for the update.

We will take a short break.

When we come back, Australian researchers have found more evidence that could help control the global threat of HIV. Their findings in just a moment.

SOARES: Plus, how plans to change a U.S. international aid policy could impact family planning and even cause women in Malawi their lives. We'll bring you that story too, just ahead.




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back, everybody. 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 this hour.


VAUSE: Malawi already has one of the world's worst maternal mortality rates in the world. Thousands of women die every year from illegal abortions. That could be about to get a lot worse.

The U.S. president, Donald Trump, and the Republican-controlled Congress want to cut funds to agencies which give advice on legal abortions. As David McKenzie reports, this U.S. policy can be a matter of life and death.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language). DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With secret herbs, he starts the bleeding. He says the women are desperate when they come.

MCKENZIE: Does he worry for their safety?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I usually don't worry because my medicine is potent. When I administer it, the abortion will come.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): We can't reveal this traditional healer. Except to save a mother's life, all abortions in Malawi are illegal and it's taboo. He says he hides the women here, where they lose their fetus, usually alone, often with massive complications.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE (voice-over): In a poor country like Malawi, U.S. family planning funding is the major defense against this horror. President Trump wanted to cut that assistance globally to zero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I fell pregnant because family planning methods were not available in Malawi then.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Flora (ph) says that the family planning now offered in Malawi could have changed her life. A single date is seared in her mind: April 5th, 2005.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It was a very, very horrible experience. I started bleeding heavily. I couldn't walk. They fetched me in an oxcart to take to a hospital and, when I was at the hospital, they removed my uterus. After this time, I can't bear children.

DR. CHISALE MIHANGO, OBSTETRICIAN: They are actually giving a death sentence to our women in this part of the world.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Dr. Chisale Mihango (ph) says U.S. funding is helping them turn the corner on women's health in Malawi. But now the Republican-controlled Congress is moving to cut nearly a quarter of family planning funding.

MIHANGO: It's a matter of women's lives. And women's lives, they don't know what the issues are in Washington. All they want is a service. And if the service is not available, they are the ones that are suffering.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Chisale already operates on between 10 and 15 post-abortion cases per day. Globally, the cuts could cause an increase of more than half a million abortions. Like Flora, so many more women in Malawi could live through hell -- David McKenzie, CNN, Blantown (ph), Malawi.


SOARES: Regular treatment can cut an HIV positive's person chance of sexually transmitting the virus to zero. That is the finding of the largest-ever study of HIV risk among gay men presented at the International AIDS Conference in Paris.

VAUSE: Australian researchers followed more than 350 couples, where one person was HIV positive. No participant became infected from their partner during four years of unprotected sex. Preventing new infections is crucial to controlling


VAUSE: -- the epidemic.

SOARES: Let's get more on this story. I want to bring in Richard Keene now. He's the president on Living Positive Victoria, an Australian nonprofit that supports people living with HIV. He joins us now on the phone from Victoria.

Richard, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us here on CNN. I want to get your reaction first of all to the study, which some are calling groundbreaking.

What will this mean for the HIV community as a whole, do you think?

RICHARD KEENE, LIVING POSITIVE VICTORIA: Well, I think that it has the potential not only to change the way that other people view people living with HIV but also to change the way that we see ourselves.

As somebody who has lived with HIV for 27 years, I remember in those early years, there was a lot of stress and internalized stigma about carrying the weight of being considered as an infectious and as a mode of transmission and as a possible person that could pass on the virus.

And this information and advanced treatments mean that some of that inner turmoil as well as the external stigma that we receive as people living with HIV can be reduced.

SOARES: Give us a sense, Richard, of what the medical options are available. I mean, for those living with HIV, from these people you've been speaking to within your organization.

KEENE: Yes. I think there's a range of risk mitigation abilities now. With prep, which is pre-exposure prophylactic, with treatment is prevention. So as before, by looking out for ourselves, we look out for others as people living with HIV.

But we also don't want to describe condoms as an absolutely essential part of the response to HIV. So we need to have a more nuanced conversation with these findings and know that there's going to be a range of options open now to reduce transmission of HIV.

SOARES: I was reading some comments by the president of the International AIDS Society and she basically made the point, Richard, that services we already have for people who are uninfected to protect themselves should be pushed even further, including drug prevention, taking prep, medical male circumcision as well as condom use.

How much of these services are already being used?

And how expensive and accessible is all of this?

KEENE: Yes, look, I've got to acknowledge my privilege as living in a first world country, particularly in a first world nation like Australia, where there is accessible access to effective treatment for HIV, because that's a big impact.

And with these findings, I just encourage, look, there was a statement made in Paris this week also, too, to celebrate the fact that more than half the people living with HIV globally are now on effective treatment.

But I think that we need to double down on that. I think we need to look at every option available to reduce the onward transmission of HIV.

SOARES: Yes, on that point, at the end of 2015, 36.7 million people were estimated to be living with HIV globally, with 46 percent of them on HIV treatment.

Richard Keene there, the president of Living Positive Victoria, thank you very much for joining us on the phone.

VAUSE: The U.K. plans to ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars in 23 years. The environment secretary says the move from combustion engines is an effort to embrace new technology and combat climate change, also to improve public health. CNN's Muhammad Lila has details.


MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm standing on an ordinary street corner in London, ordinary unless you drive an electric vehicle, in which case you know very well what this is. This is a charging station. It works very much like a regular fuel pump.

You pull the nozzle out, you pay your money and you recharge your vehicle. Over the next several years, the U.K. government is going to have to install a lot more of these if wants to meet its target in 2040 of banning the sale of all regular fuel and diesel vehicles.

That's an important issue here in the U.K. because an estimated 40,000 people die every year because of diseases that are associated with outdoor pollution.

Now in order to meet this target, the U.K. government is going to have to work with automobile manufacturers and certainly the general public and consumer groups to raise awareness about this change and why these types of vehicles are so important to solving the U.K.'s pollution problem.

We spoke to some people here in London today to get their reaction. This is what they told us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just hope it's not too little to late.

LILA: Why would you say that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they're having an impact right now. I mean, what, we're talking 2020?

LILA: 2040.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2040, right. It's a long way down the line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm all good if it's good for the environment. Why not?

LILA: Now there's no question the popularity of environmentally friendly vehicles is on the rise in the U.K. Some of the latest numbers from 2015 show a 40 percent increase in the number of hydrogen cell vehicles, electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles that were sold.

But if you look at the bigger market, that represents just 3 percent of total automobile sales in the U.K. So certainly the U.K. government has a long way to go if it wants to meet that target in 2040 -- Muhammad Lila, CNN, London.


SOARES: We'll have much more NEWSROOM L.A. In just a moment.





SOARES: Now the new public face of the White House has only been on the job a few days but he appears to be studying his boss very closely.

VAUSE: As we found out at the top of the bulletin, he is now actually calling the FBI in to investigate the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, by Twitter, accusing Reince Priebus of leaking financial documents.

It seems that the White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, also known as the Mooch, seems so enamored by Donald Trump, he's also mooching his lines. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anthony Scaramucci won't have to scrounge for a nickname.



The Mooch. Ehh.

MOOS (voice-over): Stephen Colbert said it 13 times...

COLBERT: The Mooch.

The Mooch.

MOOS (voice-over): -- in a nine-minute segment about the new White House communications director.

COLBERT: The Mooch is ready to smooch.

MOOS (voice-over): Smooch the president's behind.


I love the president.

I love the guy.

I love the president.

MOOS (voice-over): Let us count the ways.

SCARAMUCCI: The way I know him and the way I love him.

MOOS: But Scaramucci isn't saving all his love for the president. He's got love left over for Sean Spicer...

SCARAMUCCI: And I love the guy.

MOOS (voice-over): -- for other White House staffers...

SCARAMUCCI: I love the hair and makeup person that we had.

MOOS (voice-over): -- tweeted one critic, "Is there anyone, anywhere or anything you do not love?"

MOOS: Next thing you know, he'll say he loves the fandango.


MOOS (voice-over): Actually, Scaramouch is a clown character in Italian theater and the fandango is a Spanish dance, not yet danced at the White House. Scaramucci may not be a Bohemian but he rhapsodizes about love.

SCARAMUCCI: I love the president.

MOOS (voice-over): He even uses the same line as the president.

SCARAMUCCI: We're going to win so much, Chris.


SCARAMUCCI: You're actually going to get tired of winning. TRUMP: You're going to get tired of winning.

SCARAMUCCI: We're going to win so much.

TRUMP: You are going to get so sick and tired of winning.

MOOS (voice-over): And they don't just talk the same.


MOOS (voice-over): The Mooch himself re-tweeted this bit from "The Daily Show." Even when he merely likes someone, his feelings grow as he speaks.

SCARAMUCCI: I like the team. Let me rephrase that. I love the team.

MOOS (voice-over): Anthony Scaramucci is the Barry White of the White House...


MOOS (voice-over): -- right down to blowing the press a kiss -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SOARES: That's a lot of love.

VAUSE: Interesting times in the White House right now.

SOARES: There seems to be love at least.

VAUSE: And a lot of other emotion.


VAUSE: That we've been reporting on, too.

SOARES: Absolutely.

Thank you very much for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isa Soares.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.