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ISIS-style Attack Copied in Charlottesville; White Supremacist Group Praise Trump; Burkina Faso Attack Now Under Investigation. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 14, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:52] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: ... three a.m. on the U.S. East Coast.

We start with city of Charlottesville, Virginia on high alert after terrifying attack over the weekend this after a car rammed into a crowd of people on Saturday. The driver targeting counter protesters and ISIS style.

And in fact, at a white supremacist rally 19 people were killed and 32-year-old Heather Heyer was seen here she was killed.

The President of the United States Mike Pence strongly condemn the violence.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have no tolerance for hate crime and violence from white supremacists, neo Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.


HOWELL: To be sure, 19 people were injured in this case, 19 people injured, one person killed. This was the woman who was basically in front of this car when it rammed into a crowd of people.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, President Donald Trump, however, is facing outrage over his refusal to label the people at the rally extremists. In his statement Saturday he blamed many sides for the violence. The people of Charlottesville are outraged.

One day late the organizer of the white supremacist rally did not get a warm welcome. He was booed out of the area at he tried to hold a news conference.

HOWELL: Now more on the suspect of this attack, 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. His mother is speaking explaining what she thought her son was doing in Charlottesville.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAMANTHA BLOOM, JAMES ALEX FIELDS JR.'S MOTHER: I didn't know it was white supremacists. I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump is not...


ALLEN: It's sti1l not clear why the suspect carried out the attack. Police are still searching for a motive.

Here's our Brian Todd with a look at the investigation.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting some important new information now about the suspect in the car strike which killed the young woman here in Charlottesville. The suspect of course named James Alex Fields, 20 years old from Ohio.

This information coming to us from our justice producer Mary Kay Mallonee. She is from a Justice Department official familiar with the investigation is reporting that federal investigators have enough evidence to be suspicious that this suspect, James Fields, intended to send some kind of a message with that strike.

Aside from just intending to harm these victims on the street they say there may be some evidence to just thinking he intended to send a broader message. Also according to this official, officials are investigating whether he had any accomplices in this attack, people who might have helped him with this attack. That is part of an ongoing civil rights investigation from the Justice Department.

Some other information we're getting about a suspect, a teacher of his from high school, a man named Derek Weimer has told reporters that James Fields had some kind of infatuation with Nazi's that it was disturbing to this teacher. That is you see him what he's telling reporters indicating that that there may have been some extremist views on the part of suspect.

The suspect is due to be arraigned Monday morning here in Charlottesville. He's charge with one count of second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, one count of failure to stop in an accident which resulted in a death.

This all comes off another day of high tension here in Charlottesville, Virginia where one of the white supremacists leaders who staged that rally on Saturday tried to hold a news conference on Sunday not far where I'm standing and he was shouted down. This man's name was Jason Kessler. He showed up here, he was shouted down by counter protestors.

People played music trying to drown him out then, people converge on him and he went down to the ground. Not clear if he was pushed or if he fell. At that point, the police swoop in and got him out of there for his own safety. They held him for a period here in the police department here in Charlottesville and then they whisked him away. But again, anger and frustration still boiling over in Charlottesville. [03:05:02] Brian Todd, CNN, Charlottesville, Virginia.


ALLEN: The White House is trying to clarify President Trump's response to the violence saying he obviously condemns white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups, but Mr. Trump never said that specifically when he talked about the violence on Saturday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.


HOWELL: Lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, say the president's remarks are just not enough.


SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: I encourage the president to do that. This President Trump has done so, when people have driven trucks through crowd in Europe he's called it radical Islamic terrorism. He should use this opportunity today to say this is terrorism, this is domestic terrorism, this is white nationalism and it has to stop.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It was an act of domestic terrorism. The groups you just mentioned are hate filled groups. They're enemies of freedom. When it comes to President Trump, I'm with Cory Gardner, he missed an opportunity to be very explicit here.

These groups seem to believe they have a friend in Donald Trump in the White House. I don't know why they believe that, but they don't see me as a friend in the Senate. I would urge the president to dissuade these groups that he's their friends.

MICHAEL SIGNER, MAYOR OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: This is not hard. There's, you know, there's two words that is need to be said over and over again, domestic terrorism and white supremacy. That is exactly we saw in display this weekend and just aren't seeing leadership from the White House.


HOWELL: It is important to point here that there was a statement released from the White House that did go further. However, that statement released from an anonymous official, an official who did not want his or her name released. So, again, critics pushing the president of the United States beyond just statement from the White House, an anonymous statement to actually say the words himself.

Let's talk more about this now with Jacob Parakilas joining us live this hour from London. Jacob is the deputy head of the U.S. and America's program at Chatham House. It's always good to have you here on the show, Jacob. So, I want to focus more on this criticism that the president is getting, not calling a duck and duck, a spade a spade here, white supremacists for what they are.

But keeping in mind, President Trump, then-candidate Trump on the campaign trail very aggressive in criticizing his predecessor for not using the term radical Islamic terrorism. Just listen to a clip here of several of those comments. We can talk about it here on the other side.


TRUMP: Radical Islamic terrorism. And I'll tell you what, we have a president who refuses to use the term. He refuses to say it. He refuses to use the term, radical Islamic terrorism.

He refuses to use the term. You know you hear the term radical Islamic terrorism. He won't say it. He won't say it. And you can't solve a problem if you refuse to talk about what the problem is.


HOWELL: So again to use the president's own words he refuses to use the term and the question how can you solve the problem if you refuse to say the words.

JACOB PARAKILAS, ASSISTANT PROJECT DIRECTOR, CHATHAM HOUSE: I don't think you can. I mean, I think the issue here is partly the specific failure to actually address what went on, to give only the sort of mildest and most even handed condemnation of what happened in Charlottesville, but it also fits into a broader pattern with Trump if he generally refrained from criticizing people, if he were generally seen as somebody who sort of, you know, shied back from engaging in any kind of rhetorical sparring. That would be one thing, but he's not.

We've seen him criticized everyone. In the last week he's been particularly critical of Mitch McConnell, his own party's senate majority leader. In the past he's been critical of everyone from Rosie O'Donnell to the family of slain American soldier in Iraq.

So it's not as though Trump lacks the capacity to criticize, it's not as though he lacks the capacity to come out and unambiguously say this is a bad thing and we should be critical of it, it's just that on this occasion he's completely failed to do so.

HOWELL: He's tough on his attorney general, tough on the media, calls the media the enemy of the state. But again when it comes to white nationals he's quiet.

Also, Jacob, Donald Trump's Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, and like the president he also blamed the violence on both sides as the president indicated in his comment, that both sides term certainly raised a lot of eyebrows of people questioning both sides with neo-Nazi. Let's listen to that exchange we can talk about it here in a moment.


[03:09:57] TOM BOSSERT, WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: These were people who showed up intentionally looking for trouble. He's one of the people that showed up to protest a statute. I'm sure there were good people in the group that had various opinions on the removal or maintenance of the statute. But what they were -- what they found when they showed up were groups from outside that showed up on both sides looking for trouble, dressed in riot gear, prepared for violence.

It's not tolerated. It's not tolerable. I think what you saw is republican unity in terms of denouncing it and I think you saw the president stand up very clearly and not only denounce it but rise to a presidential level of calling for a counter message of love, and dignity and respect for fellow human beings.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": How many people did the counter protesters kill yesterday, Mr. Bossert?

BOSSERT: Well, I'll tell you, one death is too many, Jake and...


TAPPER: But that was by the counter protestors. She was the victim was a counter protesters.

BOSSERT: Hold on one moment, Jake. I don't for one minute, and I don't for one moment and I won't allow you for one second to put me in the position of being an apologist for somebody who is now a charged murderer. This individual should face swift justice.

The president of the United States shares that view, I know he does. I share that view deeply, and I don't want to be put in a position, I won't allow you to put me or him in a position of not finding that justice as swiftly as possible.


TAPPER: You just -- you just decried both sides.

BOSSERT: I think that we should probably for a moment.

TAPPER: You just decried both sides. Here we have a situation, Mr. Bossert where neo-Nazi...


BOSSERT: No, I don't pay -- I don't pay...

TAPPER: ... the clan, alt-right and others went to Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting anti-Semitic and anti-African-American and other racist slogans provoking the people of Charlottesville, Virginia, making them feel intimidated.

Yes, violence did break out, one person was killed by one of these alt-right clan Nazi protesters, and you just decried both sides of this and this is the issue.

BOSSERT: No, I didn't. And you're making this issue a little bit distorted. So, what I would decry, is the individual who committed murder yesterday. What I would though, is quibble with this notion that any of this is acceptable. These groups showed up spewing hate, these groups showed up looking for violence.

TAPPER: What groups?

BOSSERT: I think it's just important for people to understand.

TAPPER: What groups are you referring to?

BOSSERT: Of course the groups have showed -- well, I refer to the groups that clashed yesterday. I think it was pretty graphically evident.


TAPPER: Are you talking about the neo-Nazi? But neo-Nazi or are you talking about counter protesters?

BOSSERT: One of the things that I think the mayor will make clear to you and probably stated earlier on your program, I know he and I talked about it this morning was the difficulty he had in planning for this event.


HOWELL: So that's Tom Bossert there, Jacob, your thoughts?

PARAKILAS: Well, I think it's a very striking difference between the way in which the president and his advisers talk about the sort of, you know, well, these groups and then there's one individual but they're separate from the groups in these context.

We've seen in the past, particularly in reference to terrorist attacks to the part of the European cities, not least in London, right here where the president has not weighed in, his advisers have not weighed too for more information before making a public statement. They haven't weighed for sort of more information before linking individuals who commit attack with larger groups.

So I think it's a little bit difficult to square Bossert's insistence that this was basically one person with the demonstrated history of the president and this administration in sort of making those logical leaps in other cases.

HOWELL: Again, we're talking about what many critics are saying is creating a false equivalence putting neo-Nazi on the same footing as people who came out to stand them down.

And look, from life experience I can tell you that there is only side there. Neo-Nazi, Nazis, there was a World War fought against them, they lost. There was a Civil War fought against white supremacists, they lost. So, you know, these two groups seem pretty clear and apparent as to what they are, white supremacist and hate mongers.

Jacob, thank you for taking time with us.

ALLEN: Coming up here, the top U.S. general is set to meet with South Korea's president. We'll take you live to Seoul ahead to see what is on the agenda as far as North Korea.

HOWELL: Plus, a deadly attack in Burkina Faso's capital and it's not over. The security operation at that besieged cafe still ongoing.

ALLEN: And later this hour, we look a closer look at the white nationalist in Charlottesville, Virginia and explain what these groups hope to accomplish with their message of hate.


HOWELL: The top U.S. general is in South Korea to address the looming missile threat coming from North Korea. Joint chiefs chairman Joseph Dunford is set to meet shortly with South Korean President Moon Jae- in.

ALLEN: Meantime, the U.S. defense secretary and secretary of state general wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about North Korean tensions. part of it reads, "We're replacing the failed policy -- policy of strategic patience which expedited the North Korean threat with a new policy of strategic accountability. The object of our peaceful pressure campaign is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

They go on to warn that "any attack will be defended and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an effective and overwhelming response."

HOWELL: CNN has a depth of expertise from our correspondents throughout the region. Our Paula Hancock live this hour in Seoul, South Korea, and David McKenzie standing by in Hong Kong.

Paula, let's start with you. We know that this very important meeting is set to take place potentially here in the next 15 or 20 minutes with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the South Korean president. What more can you tell us about what's expected and why this is such an important meeting?

[03:19:55] PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, it's certainly important from the South Korean side to make sure they know that the U.S. thinks the same way that they do. Certainly over the last week you've seen some pretty strong remarks from the U.S. President Donald Trump whereas that this side, in the South Korean side, and certainly those in the region would like to see more diplomacy, more economic measures, the sanctions being given a chance to work.

So I think that's what President Moon will be looking for to make sure that the two allies are still really on the same page.

Now we just heard from the South Korean President Moon, he had a special advisors meeting just about an ago and he did urge North Korea to immediately halt all provocations, saying that if North Korea did decide to take the right path and make the right choice then immediately they would see some improvements into Korean relations and they would see significant developments in those exchanges.

Also saying that the South Korean preparations of a contingency plan are going well. And they believe that they were handling these crises well. So, those comments just ahead of that crucial meeting with General Dunford.

We are expecting remarks from the two of them afterwards in just the next couple of hours. It will be interesting to hear what he said. And certainly we are seeing from the U.S. side with that op-ed from the two top diplomats in the United States, the defense secretary and the secretary of state.

We are seeing what appears to be somewhat of a pulled back and somewhat of a reminder that actually the military option is there but the political and economic options are certainly the ones that everybody wants to focus on when it comes to North Korea. George?

HOWELL: Paula, I know that you'll be monitoring for this meeting. Any new lines coming out of it we'll, of course, keep in top with you.

Let's switch over now to David McKenzie following the story in Hong Kong. And David, let's talk about this op-ed that was written by Secretary of States Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, putting additional pressure on China to make some headway.

It reads in part, "If China wishes to play a more active role in securing regional peace and stability from which all of us especially China derive such great benefit, it must make the decision to exercise its decisive diplomatic and economic leverage over North Korea. China's Security Council vote was a step in the right direction. The region and world need and expect China to do more."

That's the op-ed that was written published for all to see. Is that the way to gain more support from the Chinese government on this issue of North Korea? Is that what you're hearing from officials? Or what is your response.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I certainly don't think officials in China will be paying much heed to an op-ed in the U.S. newspaper to drive their policy decisions. But certainly, George, they will be broadly thinking that they've already come to the party by signing up to those tougher U.N. sanctions which came into play just a few days ago, in fact, which bans even more exports coming from North Korea into places like China.

So that, from the Chinese side they will say they were doing enough. The criticism though of China is that they could do more and you saw it in that op-ed there from the diplomats in the U.S. And the secretary of defense.

But China has a very different calculation here while they do have common interests on the North Korean issue, namely not wanting a nuclear North Korea, they also have very divergent policy objectives when it comes to North Korea including not seeing the regime collapse.

So, it may be on some level wishful thinking for Washington to want China to kind of totally synergize with their viewpoint on what to do about North Korea. As Paula mentioned there in the region including China, there's a push towards some kind of talks, some kind of negotiations on the Korean Peninsula issue. That's really what China wants to see.

HOWELL: David McKenzie following the story in Hong Kong, and Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea. We appreciate the reporting from you both. We'll stay in touch as we continue to monitor this story.

ALLEN: Terrorists attacked a cafe in Burkina Faso's capital Sunday and a security operation is still underway in the West African nation.

HOWELL: Authorities say at least 17 people were killed, eight others wounded there. The state media report that two attackers have been killed.

ALLEN: Farai Sevenzo joins us now from Nairobi, Kenya. He's following development for us. What are you learning, Farai?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, we can tell you that the government ministry of communications under Mr. Remi Dandjinou has just released a press statement saying that they are now putting that figure of dead in this attack to 18.

We know that these gunmen attacked a restaurant called the Aziz Istanbul which is on the avenue Kwame Nkruma around about 9 o'clock in the evening. I must tell you, Natalie, that I know Ouagadougou quite well. I've visited the city a few times. And it retains the kind of the habits and customs of a typical friendly city.

At that time of the evening the restaurants would have been full. There's a bit of context to this. Burkina Faso has come into the crosshairs of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb. The terrorists are attacking these restaurants because they're full of foreigners and people, internationals people who come and visit there.

[03:25:05] And also back in January, 2016 they also attacked a splendid hotel the cappuccino hotel killing 29 people. But now Mali, it's a different country same problem.

Back in June, we reported another terrorist attack and it seems that Burkina Faso poor and landlocked lying next in this and Mali needs a lot of great deal of help in terms of fighting these kinds of terrorist attacks. We're learning more, Natalie, I'll give you more as I find out.

ALLEN: All right. Certainly, hope they get the help they need. Farai Sevenzo following that for us. Thank you.

HOWELL: Still to come here on NEWSROOM this hour, as India and Pakistan celebrate 70 years of independent independence we look back at the tense history between these two countries.

ALLEN: Plus, the memo that highlights a power struggle within the White House and conspiracy theories against President Donald Trump.


HOWELL: Three twenty-nine a.m. here on the U.S. East Coast, welcome back to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on top stories this hour.

In South Korea this hour the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford is set to meet any moment now with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Dunford is in South Korea amid the latest missile threats from Pyongyang. How to deal with North Korea is at the top of their agenda..

HOWELL: Protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia shouted down the organizer of the white nationalist rally when he tried to make a public statement on Sunday. That comes the day after a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against that same white supremacist rally.

[03:30:05] One woman was killed by the car that rammed into the crowd of people.

ALLEN: U.S. President Donald Trump is being slammed for what he didn't say about that violence in Virginia. Mr. Trump convince hatred and bigotry but he failed to denounce white nationalism by name.

A neo-Nazi web site even celebrated the president's remarks as, quote, "really good."

Now the White House is trying to clarify the president's remark. One official said the president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course, that includes, white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.

HOWELL: It is important to point out a footnote here. That statement comes from an official at the White House who asked not to have his or her name revealed. And many critics are pushing the president instead to say the words himself. So, just pointing out that footnote to the statement.

Our Sara Sidner spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about these white nationalists and what they expect to gain.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You got the white nationalists and that's probably the largest group because there's a lot of different people underneath this umbrella. They support white supremacist ideologies which make them white supremacists. To say some openly use racial slurs to incite violence, others claim

they are nonviolent organizations but then you have other categories like the KKK, the neo-Nazi. The neo-confederates.

There's also the alt-right and alt-light, two groups that talk a lot about white nationalism and they want to be in a place where white history, in other words, European history is the sole history that people learn and that they can be proud of.

I do want to talk about the fact that Donald Trump did not specifically name neo-Nazi and specifically white nationalist and specifically name white supremacists, if you don't think words matter, you would be wrong. Words matter.

And I want you to hear what one of the most extreme groups, the Daily Stormer, who's got a web site out there. The person who runs that, Andrew Anglin is one of the most racist hateful people in these groups and he's definitely a part of this march, some of his people at the march.

I want to read what he said after Donald Trump spoke those words but failed to mention neo-Nazi and failed to mention white supremacists. He said, quote, "Trump comments were good. He didn't attack us," talking about white supremacist, "he just said the nation should come together, nothing specific against us. When asked to condemn he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him."

This is from one of the most extreme people in this whole white supremacists movement and he's basically saying, well, the good thing is Donald Trump didn't say anything condemning us specifically so we're good. And he is good because he's basically saying to us, we're OK doing what we're doing, but we need to do keep doing this.

This was really a recruiting tool, we should mention that as well as far as all of these different groups going out and marching together with this tiki torches definitely for recruitment. That is what these groups are looking to do, include and bring in more young people. Hoping that they will see there are so many people that are for this sort of white supremacy or white nationalism that will join alongside them.

Of course, they don't want blacks to join, don't want Jews to join, they don't want Hispanics to join. They want to get rid of everybody else, but they certainly want whites to join. And that's what you're seeing here, a recruitment tool. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You know, Sara, these white nationalist groups they are pointing fingers at what they say is other side violent groups. Tell us about that.

SIDNER: Look, it is fair to say that there are a section of anti- fascists or antifa as they're known, they're known as block black that often come out and they do end up pushing and shoving and screaming at one another. They were created in the 1930's. They targeted, they usually target racism, fascism, Nazism. They are known for destruction and violent acts. Just one section of

it known as a block black is known for coming out and burning things. And we saw some of that in Berkley over these past couple of years. And this year especially we've seen some of their reactions there, you see some of the fighting that went on that was a Trump rally that happened in Berkeley.

There was another rally against a white nationalist or alt-right, if you will, speaker who came to University of California at Berkley. And the block black, so to speak, you see them there getting arrested come they usually their faces are covered, they're wearing all black. And their point is to be destructive.

Their feeling is look, non-violent hasn't worked we are going to do something different. It often that's destructive and violent. But we should be very clear here in saying that what started all this was this march with the tiki torches and the things that were being said by the neo-Nazis, by the white nationalist, or white supremacists, call them whatever name you want, that is what is sparked some of this reaction.

[03:35:00] People terrified and worried that this is going to grow. And one of the biggest reactions of that was that Donald Trump did not condemn these groups specifically, that's a real problem. Because these groups are taking that as a thumbs up to what they're doing.


HOWELL: Sara Sidner there breaking us a breakdown of the criticism against President Trump's talk.

ALLEN: Yes, and even if he were to say something now, a while later, would it really matter? Too much time has passed.



HOWELL: Yes. It's a point. I mean, you can look back at the interview that Jake Tapper had within a while back during the campaign where he asked him about David Duke. David Duke supporting him. The president in that interview did not disavow David Duke, did so later and some critics say that pause, that beat was basically sort of the dog whistle, so to speak to people, you know, that there was support there.

Still ahead here, President Trump's controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon, he's been criticized for his previous role as editor in chief of Breitbart News, a right wing publication that has been publish -- and it's published inflammatory articles.

ALLEN: And now people close to the president are hinting the knives are out for Bannon. First, listen to former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci speaking for the first time since getting fired.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FMR. WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: If the president wants to execute that legislative agenda that I think is so promising for the American people, the lower middle class people and the middle class people then he has to move away from the sort of Bannonbart nonsense.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean Steve in Breitbart, Steve Bannon.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. The whole thing is nonsensical. It's not serving the president's interest.


HOWELL: And now take a listen at how the president's national security advisor, H.R. McMaster responded when he was asked, not once, but twice -- three times, if he can work with Bannon.


CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Can you and Steve Bannon still work together in this White House or not?

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I get to work together with a broad range of talented people. And it is a privilege every day to enable the national security team.

TODD: You didn't answer can you and Steve Bannon work in that same White House?

MCMASTER: I'm ready to work with anybody who will help advance the president's agenda and advance the security and prosperity of the people.

TODD: Do you believe Steve Bannon does that?

MCMASTER: I believe that everyone who works in the White House, who has the privilege, the great privilege every day of serving their nation should be motivated by that goal.


ALLEN: Never quite directly answered that question. That was national security advisor H.R. McMaster who is said to be under attack from both inside and outside the White House.

HOWELL: A report memo, a reported memo, rather, is highlighting the power struggle between two of President Trump's closest advisors.

Here's CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper.


TAPPER: While the president's national security advisor and the National Security Council are trying to provide guidance to President Trump as he attempts to navigate and escalate in high take showdown with North Korea, they're also facing attacks from outside the White House and from within the White House.

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor to the president has been fending off an information and sometimes disinformation campaign against him by a warring faction vying for power under the same White House roof, allies to the president senior strategist Steve Bannon and those of his first fired National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn.

MICHAEL ALLEN, FMR. MAJORITY STAFF DIRECTOR, U.S. HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE: It's a fight for the soul of President Trump as he grapples with should I be more of a traditional national security national president or should I try in be a foreign policy president in my campaign voice.

TAPPER: Bannon received a special waiver to continue to talk to his former employees at Breitbart News where he serve as chief executive in which he once described as a, quote, "platform for the alt-right." It's a web site that is launch attack after attack against McMaster in a slew of recent articles.

Earlier this week the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research labs noted that many of those stories as well as other attacks against McMaster by fringe web sites and figures including info wars have been pushed on social media using the hash tag fire McMaster by a former Breitbart employee who now literally works for the Russian government as an employee of Sputnik News.

Fire McMaster has also been pushed by fringe conspiracy theorists with social media presences who have occasionally been granted access to the White House briefing room by the Trump team. Also pushing this propaganda, someone not particularly influential but extremely noteworthy. Michael Flynn, Jr., the son and one-time top aid of the man who used to have McMaster's job, General Michael Flynn.

The Digital Forensic Research Lab notes that the hash tags spread partly because of fake or automatic accounts or bus. They say the campaign against McMaster began in earnest after McMaster ousted the first of five controversial officials of the NSC who have been brought in by Flynn.

Why Rich Higgins, a strategic planning aid who work on the Trump campaign was fired by McMaster is subject to debate.

[03:40:02] Some sources say he and others exemplify McMaster's view that Flynn hired unqualified sub-standard staffers. But there is also the matter of this memo Higgins wrote, rife with conspiracy theories reminiscent of those in the fevered corner of the paranoid internet.

JANA WINTER, CONTRIBUTOR, FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: If you are on the McMaster side, you do not like this memo because you read it and you say, is he talking about me? Is he talking about someone in leadership who may disagree with the president by that guy? TAPPER: The memo obtained by purports to unravel a

bizarre conspiracy theory about a coordinated effort between the establishment, the media, globalist, bankers, Islamist, Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, the organization for security and cooperation in Europe, the United Nations, cultural Marxist and the so-called deep state or permanent government apparatus, all of whom the memo claims are banding together to delegitimize and destroy President Trump and prevent him for making America great again. Quote, "For this cabal," the memo states, Trump must be destroyed."

ALLEN: To me it was really a declaration of war on some of the choices for personnel that the president has made. He's -- this memo's message essentially was hey, those that are perhaps generals or those that had been in the process, that's not your brand. That's not who you are.

TAPPER: The memo also compares Trump to Abraham Lincoln casting Trump's struggle as a battle between good and evil. Quote, "In the same way, President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire and both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump." Higgins writes. "Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the republic."

Though President Trump, it should be noted defended McMaster just yesterday.

TRUMP: He's our friend, he's my friend, and he's a very talented man. I like him, and I respect him.

TAPPER: Evidence the campaign is having an effect. While McMaster is trying to give a sense of national security adviser to the president during his critical, he's also forced to fend these attacks from the far right both from outside the house and the memo makes pretty clear from inside as well.


TAPPER: CNN reached out to the National Security Council and they said the memo was not an official NSC document.

I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.

HOWELL: Jake, thanks for the report.

With independence came decades of tension, a look at the milestone anniversary of the end of colonial rule in India. Stay with us.


ALLEN: That's Pakistan celebrating Independence Day with fireworks and music in Karachi. It's been 70 years since India won its independence from the British empire and Pakistan was created.

HOWELL: But the partition of India also led to a massive deadly migration and the legacy of hostility between the two countries that remain today. We get more on the story the history there from CNN's Mallika Kapur.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're neighbors with a shared history but a fractured present. Seventy years ago this week British rulers sliced a giant Indian empire into two countries. A new Hindu majority India and Pakistan, home to Muslim. From the 18th century through independence the British empire in India stretch from Afghanistan in the west to Bh?ma in the east.

But by the 1940s, anticolonial sentiments swirled in many British colonies around the world, including India. Demands for India's independence grew led by freedom fighters, one that's Karamchand Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah who favored a separate state for India's Muslim minorities.

India was burning. Communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims spiraled out of control, calls to end British rule were reaching a boiling point.

On the back of a costly Second World War, Britain lacked the will and the means to defeat the independence movement. Britain decided to quit India.

In march 1947, naval officer Lord Mountbatten was appointed the vice royal of India to oversee the handover of power. He assigned British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe to draw the partition. In just six weeks he finalize a plan to divide India along religious lines. There would be a new India, a secular India, though it's whether Hindu majority would live and a separate country called Pakistan for Muslims.

On midnight of August 14, 1947 the British empire officially transferred power to India and Pakistan after nearly two centuries of colonial rule, India became a sovereign nation, and Pakistan was born. Jinnah became head of the newly formed Pakistan, Nehru became the first prime minister of India.

JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA: At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to light and freedom.

KAPUR: The partition saw one of the largest human migrations the world has ever seen. Millions of Hindus and Sheikhs living in Pakistan headed to India. Millions of Muslims migrated to Pakistan in trains, mollusks, on foot. In a matter of months at least 10 million people moved across the borders.

At least a million Hindus, Muslims, and Sheikhs died in communal attacks as they cross the border, tens of thousands of women and girls were abducted and raped, families were divided. Twenty four years later, in 1971, the east wing of Pakistan split away to become a separate country called Bangladesh. The west side remain as president day Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought four wars since 1947, mostly fueled by disputes over the northern Hamelin state of Jammu and Kashmir. Both countries claim it in its entirety but only control parts of it. The both sides have attempted to restore peace many times, they remain hostile nuclear-armed neighbors even today.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, Amritsar, India.


ALLEN: Another story from India. Now growing outrage after the death of dozens of children at a government hospital. Reports say more than 60 children, including 34 infants died over six states at the hospital in northern India partly because at the lack of oxygen on the children's ward.

HOWELL: Reports say the oxygen shortage happened after the supplier's bills were not paid. Local officials say there was a disruption of oxygen but they insist the deaths were caused by encephalitis and other issues.

[03:50:05] The head of the hospital reportedly had been suspended and an investigation is underway.

ALLEN: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.


HOWELL: All is fair in love and war games, especially for Russia, which won most of the competitions at the annual international army games.

ALLEN: I've never heard of the international army games, but OK. Twenty eight most 28 mostly non-NATO countries flexed their military muscles in the two- competition.

Our Oren Liebermann has the story from Moscow.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The colored coded tanks give the international army games a sense of friendly rivalry. Even the name of the hallmark event tank biathlon is more reminiscent of the Olympics than a military exercise.

Make no mistake, this is a spectator sport and it seems all is fair in love and war games. "I think that this shows how developed the Russian armed forces are," says this young woman, "and I'm very proud that they can stand up for us, I'm sure now that they can do it."

[03:54:57] Russian's latest fighter jet fifth generation Sukhoi Su-57 highlighting the air show and culminating a century of Russian military history.

As the U.S. prepares for its own military exercises with South Korea this seems Russia's way of reminding the world of its own strategic allies. As the Kremlin urges calm in the Korean Peninsula. The competitors list here for the army includes a list of who's who of countries that Trump has recently threatened, including Iran, China, and Venezuela.

Nearly all of countries competing here were non-NATO countries de facto alliance working together. "I think that this is just a showcase of our strength. Don't touch us and we won't touch anyone," this man says.

And in general our strategy is world peace. Everyone says so including the president. This is our troop.

Russia was the heavy favorite after winning the games every year since they started in 2015. The Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu on hand to award the trophy declined to speak with CNN.

In all 28 countries took part in 28 events. Russian took place in 19 of those events. A chance for military glory without the battle.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Moscow.


HOWELL: Thank you for being with us this hour for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. "EARLY START" is next for viewers here in the United States. For other viewers around the world, stay with u for more news with Hanna Vaughan Jones in London.

You're watching CNN. We thank you.