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New Twist in Trump Jr.'s Meeting with Russian; Comms Director Scaramucci Forced Out; Pence: U.S. Will Not Tolerate Russian Aggression; President Maduro Condemns New U.S. Sanctions; Reaction to North Korea's Latest ICBM Test; Aid Groups Snub Italian Code of Conduct on Mediterranean Rescues; Gold Rush in Northern Italy. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired August 1, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:07] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: A new twist in that controversial meeting between Donald Trump's son and a Russian lawyer last year. How President Trump now appears to have been involved in the initial statement about it.
Plus, the U.S. sanctions Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after a controversial vote that opponents call a "sham".
And later --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And we're told nobody ever finds that much gold in one day here. You can go -- I did find some myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Ben Wedeman goes on a hunt for fresh gold near an ancient Roman goldmine. We will even show you where it is.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world.
I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
A new report is sure to bring more scrutiny of the Trump White House and its alleged ties to Russia. The "Washington Post" sites multiple unnamed sources who say President Trump himself dictated his son's statement about that meeting with a Russian lawyer in June of last year.
Donald Trump, Jr. initially claimed the meeting was about adoptions but later released the e-mail chain which showed it was actually arranged to provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.
CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with one of the reporters who broke the story.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I guess the question is did Donald Trump know about the meeting, the real reason for the meeting when he was helping craft the statement.
TOM HAMBURGER, "WASHINGTON POST": So Anderson -- that's, of course, a key question and it's not one that we can answer with confidence. As you point out the President and Donald Trump, Jr. have indicated that the President was not fully informed.
What our story tonight points out is that the question of how to respond to this report that was coming in the "New York Times" last July was discussed on the sidelines of the G-20 by top presidential aides and advisors and, as you recall, Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump were at the G-20 --
HAMBURGER: So there were discussions about how to respond on the sidelines. And what we hear from our sources is that the initial discussion was one of recommending openness and a full response knowing that these e-mails, that there were documents in a sense, that lurked in the background that would tell a more -- a potentially more troublesome story.
The conversation then moves on to Air Force One as the President and his party depart from Hamburg, Germany site of the G-20 and the discussion continues and then from Air Force One, a decision is made that a much more limited statement about this meeting will occur, one that discusses it as really a brief and not consequential discussion about adoptions of Russian children in the United States was issued.
And that's issued in the afternoon that Saturday and are -- what we learned from our sources is that that statement was dictated from the President and the story -- the statement itself goes to the "New York Times" and then is published that afternoon while Air Force One is still in the air on the way back to Andrews Air Force Base.
CHURCH: So let's talk more now about this with criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Troy Slaten, who joins me now from Los Angeles. Thanks so much for being with us.
TROY SLATEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: And we want to start with that key question CNN's Anderson Cooper discussed with the "Washington Post's" Tom Hamburger.
Did President Trump know the true nature of this meeting when he dictated his son's misleading statement that claimed it was about Russian adoption despite warnings from his advisers to be more forthcoming? Explain to us why it is so important to know the answer to this question.
SLATEN: Well, it makes a difference whether we're talking about the political ramifications or potential legal ramifications. When a politician says something in a light most favorable to them or their position, we call it spin. When they absolutely tell the truth, sometimes that's called a gaffe.
There's a difference between saying something that may even be misleading to the American people, to the public at large, and saying something that's misleading to an investigator. That could be obstruction of justice.
[00:04:59] But if you're just saying something in trying to spin a story in a light most favorable to yourself, that could just be a political wrongdoing as opposed to something criminal.
CHURCH: All right. So let's look at the likely legal ramifications of President Trump dictating his son's misleading statement about Donald, Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer.
Now, you mentioned the possibility here of obstruction of justice. Would this alone be a problem for President Trump? But then when you sort of partner it with what happened with the former FBI director, Jim Comey, and other incidents are we starting to see a pattern here?
SLATEN: Well, it's certainly something that the special counsel Robert Mueller, also a former FBI director is going to look into. The firing of Jim Comey was really the birth of the special counsel that we're seeing now. And the special counsel like we saw during the Clinton administration, then it was called the independent counsel Ken Starr, these types of investigations tend to grow tentacles. And they're going to look into everything.
And when this story comes out that at the highest levels of our government that they were crafting a response, that they were trying to do damage control, that there may be a cover up -- that's something that the special counsel is going to look into.
And if people during the investigation with the special counsel lie -- that's something that they could be prosecuted like we saw during the Valerie Plame and Scooter Libby investigations back in 2003.
CHURCH: Right. And the "Washington Post" sent a long list of questions to President Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow. But instead of answering those questions, he replied with this one-sentence statement about the "Post" story and I do want to quote this directly. "Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent."
So is this really of no consequence? And was this a sufficient legal response to what's been raised in the "Washington Post" article?
SLATEN: Well, even if everything that the story says is true, and Donald Trump was the one who dictated the entire statement that's not a crime in and of itself. If it's part of a greater conspiracy to throw off investigators or to derail an investigation, then you could be getting into the area of obstruction of justice.
But just acting in a PR capacity and trying to say something that spins the story in a way favorable to the administration that's not -- it's not in and of itself a crime.
CHURCH: I do want to just quickly ask you this. The other big question, of course, is who would have leaked this story? Who could have been the source here? It would have had to have been someone fairly high up in the White House hierarchy, right, that was on Air Force One when this all took place? How important do you think that is from a legal standpoint?
SLATEN: We don't know who this is. It's an unnamed source. It's an anonymous unnamed source. It means that this person felt like they weren't comfortable to reveal their name.
Now, if the special counsel comes and talks to them and they were willing to talk to the "Washington Post" well then, they're probably going to tell their story to the special counsel as well and you better tell the truth when they're asking you questions because lying to them, in and of itself, is a crime.
So if this is somebody that was around the President at the time, the President's got several concerns. It means that the people that he thinks are his closest confidants may not be.
And if this really -- if this story is true and it looks like the President was running a cover-up operation, well, it's often said that the cover-up can be worst than the crime.
CHURCH: It sure is. All right. Troy Slaten -- thanks so much for your legal perspective on this. We appreciate it.
SLATEN: Thank you.
CHURCH: Another day, another staff shakeup at the White House but President Trump is denying his administration is in chaos. He tweeted Monday, "A great day at the White House."
It started with the swearing-in of his new chief of staff, retired General John Kelly, who had been serving as Homeland Security Secretary. But by Monday afternoon came word that communications director Anthony Scaramucci had been forced out after just 11 days on the job.
Last week Scaramucci gave a profanity-laced interview, slamming the former chief of staff Reince Priebus and others in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[00:10:05] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President certainly felt that Anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position. And he didn't want to burden General Kelly also with that line of succession. As I think we've made clear a few times --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Scaramucci is at least the eighth person pushed out in the first six months of the Trump administration. Joining me now from Los Angeles, CNN's senior reporter for media and politics Dylan Byers -- always great to see you Dylan.
So, so much to work through here -- right. Let's start with the sudden departure of Anthony Scaramucci on the same day President Trump denies his administration is in chaos, his new chief of staff John Kelly tells Scaramucci he has to go.
What happened here? And could this be the start of order being restored to the White House, do you think?
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICS REPORTER: Well, it very well could be but up until this point there certainly has been chaos and the tweets from the President saying no chaos, great day at the White House. All those are either delusional or, you know, obviously wrong.
What the truth is, is that there had been a great deal of chaos at the White House. There has been six months of chaos and a sort of failure to establish order.
The one thing that Anthony Scaramucci did effectively is he got rid of some of the people who obviously weren't given the mandate or weren't given the authority to do their jobs well. That was obviously chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
The issue is that Scaramucci was never up to the task of actually being a communications director. He went on that profanity-laced interview with the "New Yorker" which did anger the President. He felt like he was getting ahead of the President, felt like Scaramucci was embarrassing the administration.
But the most significant development that's happened here is the introduction of chief of staff John Kelly. Trump has a great deal of respect for John Kelly, at least now. He has given Kelly the mandate to do what he wants.
Kelly is now running the West Wing. He is very much the chief of staff, very much has the authority, very much has the mandate. And one of the first decisions he made was we can't have Scaramucci in this White House. We can't have that uncertainty. We can't have that chaos. We certainly can't have this guy going out, giving interviews to the "New Yorker" or any journalist for that matter in which he is saying things I can't mention on air about senior administration officials. It's best you have Scaramucci out.
Will we have order? It certainly seems that way for now. John Kelly is in control of everything. How long that lasts? As both you and I know, you can't predict anything with this White House.
CHURCH: Indeed. We're seeing day one. We'll see what happens day two -- right.
Also want to listen to what White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had to say Monday about Mr. Trump's cabinet. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: There are no conversations about any cabinet members moving in any capacity. And the President has 100 percent confidence in all members of his cabinet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So Dylan -- is this a signal perhaps that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is safe for now despite his public shaming by President Trump?
BYERS: Well again, hard to know but the way I read that goes back to John Kelly. It's a suggestion that John Kelly came in and he said look, it's time to put all of this drama, all of this palace intrigue aside.
Now look, Trump is somebody who takes things very personally. It's clear that he had a personal beef with his Attorney General, with Jeff Sessions. You know, not even John Kelly is going to be able to rein in this President.
So is it possible that we'll see the President taking up his fight against Jeff Sessions on Twitter again as early as tonight or tomorrow morning? Perhaps. But for now, that's been reined in.
I think Kelly, and I think Trump has bought on to this. I think there's a sincere effort to try and focus this administration, to try and right the ship. And that's what you're seeing reflected in that statement there from press secretary Sarah Sanders.
CHURCH: And Dylan -- another issue that has caught everyone's attention is President Trump's comment Sunday about police and encouraging forceful arresting -- arrests, rather. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know. The way you put the hand -- like don't hit their head and they just killed somebody, don't hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, ok?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And one day later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was quick to say the President was just joking. Want to listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the President joking when he said this? Or did he check his remarks out with the International Association of Police Chiefs or maybe the Attorney General?
SANDERS: I believe he was making a joke at the time. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Ok. So Dylan if the President was making a joke about forceful arrests, is that appropriate? And is it even funny?
[00:15:05] BYERS: No. It's neither funny nor appropriate. And I think you see that reflected in the response from so many of the leaders of the law enforcement community in the wake of that remark.
I mean, you know, looking back over the past several years, the issue of police violence and police brutality has been at the forefront of the national conversation in the United States.
To have the President of the United States going out there and making light of it, even encouraging police officers to be more violent with the people that they arrest and then to see many of those officers cheering for that -- all of that sends a terrible signal.
You know, if I'm any one in America who's afraid of police brutality, if I'm a minority in America, for sure seeing that is extraordinarily troubling. So no, not appropriate behavior from the President of the United States. Certainly not funny.
CHURCH: Dylan Byers -- always great to talk with you. Thanks so much.
BYERS: Thank you -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is putting Vladimir Putin's government on notice that the Trump administration will not tolerate aggression by Russia towards its neighbors. He's in Tbilisi, Georgia right now after meeting with Baltic leaders in Estonia.
Pence said Russia has tried to redraw international borders by force and he warned the U.S. won't accept that. He also referred to President Putin's decision to slash staff at U.S. diplomatic missions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We hope for better days, for better relations with Russia. But recent diplomatic action taken by Moscow will not deter the commitment of the United States of America to our security, the security of our allies and the security of freedom-loving nations around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Moscow is leaving it up to Washington to decide who will have to leave U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia. Its fury is about new U.S. sanctions approved by Congress but not yet signed by President Trump.
Brian Todd has more on how the cuts could sharply erode U.S. intelligence-gathering.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vladimir Putin hits back, retaliating for U.S. sanctions on Russia.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I thought it was time for us to show that we will not leave this without an answer.
TODD: Putin announces U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia will be cut by 755 people, a huge chunk of the staff at the U.S. embassy in consulates.
The Kremlin also plans to confiscate two properties operated by the U.S. government in Russia -- a storage facility in Moscow and a country house outside the city. Veteran spies warn if American diplomats have to leave Russia, intelligence assets could be lost.
ERIC O'NEILL, FORMER FBI COUNTERINTELLIGENCE OFFICER: You hide the spies, the CIA spies, the case officers within the people who do their day job. So if you only have so many people that are allowed in the embassy that means that it's going to necessarily reduce the amount of people that you can use to gather intelligence. And that's a problem.
TODD: Intelligence experts say it's an open secret that many Americans working under the title of diplomats in Russia and their Russian counterparts in the U.S. are spies. Former CIA case officer John Sipher (ph) worked in Moscow.
JOHN SIPHER, FORMER CIA CASE OFFICER: U.S. case officers, intelligence officers on the street in Moscow are strategic assets meant to be strategic Russian sources (inaudible).
It's a short meeting or whether there's other meetings to exchange information, technical meetings or what have you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they may know about you.
TODD: Experts say the scenes depicted in popular spy shows like "The Americans" with dead drops, clandestine meetings and fake identities are not that far off from real life.
O'NEILL: Dead drops and signal sites and brush passes and clandestine meets -- spies still use those because they work. But more and more we're seeing a massive transition from the old spy methods to cyber espionage.
TODD: It's always been a dangerous game in Moscow.
MARTHA PETERSON, FORMER CIA OFFICER: The KGB owned the city and they followed everyone everywhere.
TODD: Martha Peterson was a covert CIA officer in Moscow in the 70s. Featured in the CNN original series, "DECLASSIFIED", she recounted how her cover was blown during a dead drop. She was arrested, interrogated all night, then kicked out of the country.
PETERSON: They put the dead drop down in the middle of the table on a piece of "Pravda Newspaper". They then began the interrogation. The chief interrogator was a very angry, middle-aged man.
TODD: Sipher says an American spy in Russia has to always assume they're being monitored.
SIPHER: If I got up at 2:00 in the morning and walked outside, there'd be a team of people there to follow me everywhere. And then they would have people to listen to the tapes of all my discussions in my house, watch videos of that. They would interview everybody that I came in contact with.
TODD: Intelligence veterans say the Russians have a couple of distinct advantages over the United States in spy craft. They say the Russians have many more spies here inside America than the U.S. has in Russia.
[00:20:08] And they say the Russians often recruit regular Russian business people and travelers to do their spying for them. People like Russian commercial pilots, bankers, journalists. U.S. spy agencies they say don't use those tactics.
Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.
CHURCH: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is lashing out against new U.S. sanctions. But the White House can still use other options to hit President Maduro where it hurts.
CHURCH: Welcome back -- everyone.
Well, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is defiant against new U.S. sanctions. Any assets he may have in the U.S. are now frozen. And U.S. citizens are banned from doing business with him.
The U.S. is calling Mr. Maduro a dictator after a controversial vote the White House says was a sham. Maduro's supporters are expected to control a new assembly that could rewrite the constitution. And now Mr. Maduro is attacking U.S. President Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Why are they sanctioning me? Because I can tell the truth about persecution of Mexican and Latin American people by Donald Trump. The deportations, expulsions, abuse and torture of thousands of Latin Americans.
Please take note, you are either with Trump or you are with Venezuela.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Meanwhile the Venezuelan opposition is calling for more protests against the new powerful assembly. Earlier we spoke with CNN's Leyla Santiago in Caracas. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know in a matter of days, the new assembly will gather. This is more than 500 new members, one of which, by the way, includes President Maduro's wife and they will gather to begin their task of rewriting the constitution.
But how quickly this will go, still uncertain. There's a lot of uncertainty not only with the constituent assembly, with the rewriting of the constitution, with what could be more power for President Maduro, and also on the streets.
While it has been a relatively quiet day, a lot of people are just waiting to see what will happen, how quickly this constitution will begin writing that -- or excuse me -- this assembly will begin writing that constitution. And what type of an impact the international pressure because it's not just the United States. We're talking about Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico among others, the European Union -- what type of an impact that pressure and those sanctions could have because one more thing, the United States has moved forward with sanctions on individuals but what they have not touched is the oil industry.
[00:25:00] There is talk -- I know that the administration is debating about whether or not they will do that in the near future. And that is something that can not only impact President Maduro and his administration but that is something that could impact the people of Venezuela because that's where a lot of money comes in.
The money that does come in to the country, the country that's now experiencing food and medical shortages is something that is dependent on trade with oil.
CHURCH: The U.S. military has detected what it calls highly unusual and unprecedented levels of North Korean submarine activity. A U.S. Defense official says there's also evidence North Korea tested a missile's hold-launch system at the Sinpo naval shipyard. A so-called ejection test is critical to the developing launch capabilities from a sub.
Now this comes on the heels of Pyongyang intercontinental ballistic missile launch on Friday. Experts say if it has been fired on a flatter trajectory, the missile could have threatened U.S. cities.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says the time for talk is over. Nikki Haley is calling on China to decide whether to challenge North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un.
Meanwhile at his second full cabinet meeting, U.S. President Trump said his administration will deal with the threat but offered no specifics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We'll handle North Korea. We're going to be able to handle -- it will be handled. We handle everything. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: With more on this, Will Ripley joins us now from Beijing. Will -- again, we re left wondering what President Trump means when he says he will handle North Korea. What are the options? And how far might the U.S. go?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well up until pretty recently, President Trump at least publicly was expressing that his best option to cooperate with China in hopes that China would put the economic squeeze on Pyongyang, cut them off completely in areas like trade and even the flow of oil into the country from a pipeline here in China.
But clearly after two ICBM launches in the span of one month, and you mentioned that submarine testing and submarine activities that's underway. He's clearly now believing that China isn't doing anything to help the United States with North Korea.
And in his tweet storm on Friday criticizing China, he implied that previous U.S. administrations had foolishly allowed this country to profit by -- in the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars through trade with the United States while they continued to not play ball with the U.S. on North Korea.
So this is leading China to now respond to warn the United States essentially not to conflate the trade issue with the North Korean issue because the economic relationship between both of those countries is very important and a trade war would hurt all sides involved.
China has a very different view about how to diffuse the situation on the Korean Peninsula -- Rosemary. They don't think cutting off North Korea economically is the solution. They think that would potentially destabilize the country and make the situation more dangerous on the Korean Peninsula.
And so they think that discussion, engagement and most importantly, they want the United States to suspend their joint military exercises with South Korea in exchange for North Korea theoretically suspending their missile program and their nuclear program. I spoke with many North Korean officials who told me repeatedly, as recently as last month, that's not something that they are not going to do but nonetheless at a time when the U.S. and China really need to work together on this, their viewpoints seem to be very far apart -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. They indeed are a very delicate matter indeed. Will Ripley taking us through that -- many thanks to you.
Well, as more refugees try to make their way to Europe, we hear why some aid groups are frowning on Italy's new rules for rescuing migrants. That's just ahead.
[00:28:52] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH (voice-over): A warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Want to update you now on the main stories we have been following this hour.
CHURCH: Some aid groups who help rescue migrants in the Mediterranean are refusing to sign Italy's new code of conduct. Doctors without Borders says the new rules, including having police on rescue boats, would get in the way of saving lives.
A small German organization is also refusing to sign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TITUS MOLKENBUR, JUGEND RETTET: For us the most controversial (ph) point that did not (INAUDIBLE) code of conduct was the commitment for us to help (INAUDIBLE) police with investigations and possibly take armed police officers on board.
That is in direct -- antithetical to the (INAUDIBLE) of neutrality that we're here to and we cannot be seen as part of the conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Italy fears the aid groups unintentionally facilitate people smuggling from North Africa.
Dozens of firefighters are battling a fast-moving wildfire that broke out 13 kilometers from Athens international Airport in Greece. The flames spread quickly through dry brush, fueled by strong winds on Monday.
So far the fire has not affected any flights and no one lives in the area that's burning right now.
From extreme heat in Southern Europe to strong storms towards the north, Europe is at risk of severe weather this week.
CHURCH: Gold fever has struck Northern Italy. Just ahead, we hiked to a river with a panner, seeking adventure and a little treasure. We'll explain when we come back.
CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.
Gold panning is making a comeback in Northern Italy and people from children to retirees and getting in on the adventure. CNN's Ben Wedeman takes us to the river where they're looking for gold. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is a rush -- well, more like a leisurely stroll -- for gold in Northern Italy; 65-year-old pensioner Giancarlo Rolando has been panning for flakes of gold in the Elvo River south of the Alps since the 1980s.
"It makes a difference because my pension is a bit low," he says.
Bruno Martini runs the Association of Gold Seekers of Biella, this Northern Italian province. He explains that the river, when high, deposits gold flakes where the current slows.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): He starts by digging up the sand, moving the rock then takes it to the river to pan.
"I am optimistic because certainly there is some gold," he says, "at least there should be."
He did find a few specks.
WEDEMAN: Now you are only allowed to pan five grams of gold a day. That is about 0.176 ounces and we're told nobody ever finds that much gold in one day here, even though I did find some myself.
However, if you were to be incredibly lucky and managed to get five grams a day, every single day without a break, without a day off for 13.2 years, you might make your first million dollars. But I suggest you keep your day job.
ARTURO RAMELLA, PRESIDENT, WORLD GOLDPANNING ASSOCIATION: And what we can see is that the rocks here --
WEDEMAN (voice-over): In the nearby hills, composed of the millions of rocks, Arturo Ramella explains that this area was a massive Roman gold mining operation covering more than 20 square kilometers or more than 12 miles in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.
Thousands of men literally slaved away here, separating the stones from the gold-bearing sand.
RAMELLA: All this price of cobblestones are remain of the Roman gold mine.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The gold found here, he says, helped finance the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Today, the search for gold is mostly a hobby. Eight-year-old Giacomo comes here with his grandmother. What he finds, he keeps.
Tiring? I asked.
GIACOMO, GOLD PANNER: No. (Speaking Italian).
WEDEMAN (voice-over): "No, it's fun," he says.
English teacher Dario Zanetti got gold fever after his mother, for Christmas, paid for a gold panning course in Germany.
DARIO ZANETTI, ENGLISH TEACHER: It's also about, you know, the adventure. It is like you know, being in America, and in the Gold Rush period and so you just enjoy the wonderful experience.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): And even for Giancarlo, who says he sometimes pays for car repairs with his earnings, the real pleasure of panning does not have a monetary value.
"You just hear the sound of the water," he says. "There is a sun, the wind, tranquility."
And that is worth far more than gold -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, on the Elvo River, in Northern Italy.
CHURCH: OK, so if you have a fear of heights, you may want to look away for this one. The world's longest suspension bridge is open for business again in Switzerland seven years after it closed due to safety issues.
It stretches nearly 500 meters through some of Switzerland's tallest mountains. The highest point is 85 meters up in the air. Look at that. More than enough to make your stomach drop.
And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter @RosemaryCNN. Love to hear from you. "WORLD SPORT" is coming up next.