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U.S. President Donald Trump Back to Blaming Both Sides for Violence in Charlottesville; Learning More About 20-year-old James Fields; U.S. and Japan Holding Joint Military Drills; An Oasis of Booze and Beaches in Syria; President Back To Blaming Both Sided For Clashes; Red Cross: Death Toll Rising After Sierra Leone Landslide; Eu Leaders: Uk's Post-Brexit Customs Plan A Fantasy; Survey: Brexit Fears Impacting London Job Market; Uk's Largest Warship Arrives Home In Portsmouth; Late-Night Comedy Turns Serious. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 16, 2017 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:01] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The Charlottesville controversy combated Donald Trump, questions history and reality at a roller coaster of a news conference. Now, more lawmakers and business leaders are distancing themselves from his latest remarks.

China is stepping up diplomatically telling both North Korea and the United States the cool down the rhetoric.

And later, we will take you to Portsmouth, England where the Royal Navy's brand-new warship has just arrived.

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

Just 24 hours after he condemned white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, U.S. President Donald Trump is back to blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. His comments at an impromptu news conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday were jaw-dropping. CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta was there.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Another White House message of the day went off the rails as the president stood in the lobby of Trump Tower and defended his initial response to the violence in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: There was no way, there was no way of making a correct statement that early. I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters, unlike a lot of reporters.

I know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts as they started coming out were very well stated. In fact, everybody said his statement was beautiful. If you would've made it sooner, that would've been good. I couldn't have made it sooner because I didn't know all of the facts on many sides, on many sides.

ACOSTA: Just as he did on Saturday, the president once again appeared to blame both sides equally.

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists were in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee and counter protesters who confronted them.

TRUMP: I watched this very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you have, you had a group on one side there was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I'll say it right now. You had a group, you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.

ACOSTA: The president went further equating progressive protesters he dubbed the Alt-Left with the Nazis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You call the Alt-Left is the same as Neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: Those people, all of those people -- excuse me, I've condemned Neo-Nazis, I've condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were Neo-Nazi, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So -- excuse me, and you take a look at some of the groups, and you see an you know if you're honest reporters, which in many cases you're not, but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.

So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is the Thomas Jefferson the week after, you know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump seems to echo the complaints of the white nationalists, complaining about the removal of confederate icons, asking whether monuments celebrating the founding fathers would be next.


TRUMP: Excuse me, you have some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group -- excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of to them a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now loses status? Are we going to take down -- excuse me, are we going to take down, are we going to take down statues of George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What you think of Thomas Jefferson, do you like him?


TRUMP: OK. Good. Are we going to take down the statue because he was a major slave owner, now we are going to take down his statue? So, you know what, it's fine. You're changing history, you're changing culture, and you had people and I'm not talking about the Neo-Nazis and the white nationalist because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in a group other than Neo-Nazis and white nationalists, OK. And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.

[03:05:03] ACOSTA: The president even weighed in on the latest palace intrigue at the White House indicating the days may be numbered first chief strategist Steve Bannon who has come under heavy criticism for his far-right views.

TRUMP: Mr. Bannon came on very late, you know that. I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that. And I like him, he's a good man, he is not a racist, I can tell you that. He's a good person. He actually gets a very unfair press in that regard. But we'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.


CHURCH: CNN's Jim Acosta with that report.

There has been no shortage of criticism for President Trump's comments. The public and Senator John McCain tweeted this, there is no moral equivalency between racists and Americans standing up to defy hate and bigotry. The president of the United States should say so. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted this, the organizers of events which inspired and led to Charlottesville's terrorist attack are 100 percent to blame for a number of reasons, the white supremacy groups will see being assigned only 50 percent of blame is a win. We cannot allow this old evil to be resurrected. And this from Politico, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Kentucky Republican had no new comment in response to remarks, Tuesday. So that's from the GOP leadership.

And now, six people have resigned from the President's Manufacturing Council in protest of his comments. They include four CEOs and the leaders of the top U.S. labor union federation.

For an in-depth look at Tuesday's extraordinary press conference, we turn now to CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston who joins us from Washington. Great to have you with us.


CHURCH: Now, in this bizarre press conference, President Trump reverted back to his initial response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Saturday, defending racist protesters displaying Nazi symbols and blaming the violence on both sides again. What are Americans to make of this?

PRESTON: Well, a couple things now. As our friends around the globe and certainly in Europe are waking up right now, they're probably looking back here at the United States, specifically here in Washington where I am, and wondering what is going on, what was going on with the United States government. What we saw from Donald Trump, you know, yesterday was bizarre at best and in some quarters, some people are saying that he is stoking racism by not calling out folks by name and by really trying to create this moral equivalency to the counterdemonstrators that were down in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. So he is taking a lot of heat, not only from Democrats but from Republicans as well, specifically elected leaders, Rosemary, who are upset that Donald Trump wasn't more forceful in his denunciation of what we saw happened that led to the deaths of three people.

CHURCH: Indeed. And some members of the Republican Party, as you say, distancing themselves from the president while the likes of the KKK's David Duke are thanking Mr. Trump for his words, tweeting this -- if I can read this out. Thank you, President Trump, for your honesty and courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville and condemned the leftist terrorists in Black Lives Matter, the antifascist. Now, Mark, what will the GOP do about this?

PRESTON: It all depends. So what we will see is individuals, we will see individuals including Senator John McCain, who just a few hours ago, came out specifically asked for President Trump to condemn what had happened down in Charlottesville, and not to create this false equivalency between the counterdemonstrators, that were there, perhaps the Black Lives Matter folks to the Neo-Nazis that were down there. So there is that -- but the Republican Party is kind of in a rock and a hard place and that some of these folks don't actually want to comment on Donald Trump.

They don't want to have to address any of the things that he has done for two reasons. One is they feel like all of their time is spent doing so and for real personal political reasons, Rosemary, a lot of them are afraid of upsetting Trump supporters. And they're afraid that his supporters won't back them heading into 2018, when will see the next elections come up on a wide scale place, specifically with the federal election. So you know it all depends on the individual about how they will actually answer questions regarding this now.

[03:09:58] CHURCH: Yeah, a lot of fear it seems. And you say the GOP wants Donald Trump to condemn the white supremacist. He seems to have a problem with that. Has he lost the moral authority to lead the United States? And if he has, then what, what happens?

PRESTON: Well, I think that's a question that has to be asked and answered individually of folks here in United States, but also world leaders when they're having to deal with Donald Trump on this issue or perhaps others that they're not so happy with. I will say that today was in some ways a defining moment for Donald Trump's presidency. Now, you said multiple defining moments, but in terms of his understanding of race and his understanding of empathy, and his understanding of knowing when to say the right thing, what we saw yesterday from Donald Trump, what we saw in his response, in his very forceful response in his attack on the United States' media for even questioning him, I think it shows that Donald Trump still doesn't get it.

We're seven months of his presidency right now and you would think somebody who's the leader of the Free World, the president of the United States the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces would know how to respond to certain incident. And he still doesn't seem to get it. A lot of people, Rosemary, think that it's because of his own narcissistic ways that he's unable to acknowledge faults or even to show a whole lot of empathy.

CHURCH: And, Mark, on Monday, we saw the president to read from the prompter, very carefully worded statement, disavowing the white supremacist group, the KKK, and the Nazi group today -- or we should say Tuesday, he then stepped back and reverted to his message on Saturday. Now, as he was talking to the press, the president's new chief of staff, John Kelly did not look happy. We can bring that picture up to show he -- I mean, in this instance, we have to ask has John Kelly lost control of the president. Will likely stick with him? He does not look like this was panning out as planned.

PRESTON: Well, first question is has he lost control, did he ever have control of the president? There was a lot of talk when John Kelly who we should say is a decorated general. So he is somebody who understands combat and adversity, somebody who also understands the chain of command. But when you take this position as the Chief of Staff, he has been in there for a couple weeks, the idea was that he was going to make everything run efficiently, below the president. And he would have a difficult time keeping President Trump in you know boxed in a way where he wouldn't do things like what you saw today.

But as you saw that picture, you have to wonder, is John Kelly saying to himself what did I get myself into? He has no idea whether he is going to stay or go. I mean, I would think given his background as a general and somebody who has been in probably worse situations, life or death situations, he will probably stay, but it is not going to be a very easy job for him.

CHURCH: Yeah. The picture tells it all pretty much. Mike Preston, great to get your analysis as always. I appreciate it.

PRESTON: Thank you.

CHURCH: And of course, in the midst of all this controversy, it's important to remember the young woman who was killed in Saturday's protest. A memorial service will be held Wednesday in Charlottesville for 32-year-old Heather Heyer. She was run down by a speeding car, which plowed through counter protesters at the white supremacists' rally.

CNN visited the law firm where Heyer worked as a paralegal. Coworkers made a memorial at her desk filled with flowers and cards. One note reads although her desk is empty today, we will never forget how much she impacted our lives.

And we are learning more about the man accused of killing Heather, 20- year-old James Fields has a history of run-ins with police. Records show police were called to his mother's home nine times between 2010 and 2013.

CNN's Brian Todd has the latest now from Charlottesville.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The violence between white nationalists and counter protesters has only led to five arrests. And tonight, there are new questions about whether additional charges will be made.

AL THOMAS, CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE CHIEF: We're still receiving reports of assaults. The city made approximately 250 calls for service on Saturday alone and many of the conflicts, individuals, which strike, and then disappear, back in the crowd.

TODD: Authorities are asking for witnesses of this incident, attackers armed with clubs beating an African-American man on the ground. The victim is Deandre Harris, barely conscious. He stumbles away from the mob.

[03:15:01] DEANDRE HARRIS, ASSAULTED DURING PROTEST: I had to get eight staples in my head to seal it back up, I broke my wrist right here. I busted my lip. I chipped my tooth. I was losing so much blood like the people at the hospital told me I was lucky.

TODD: Deandre Harris' friend, Vance Long, who was with him at that time told us a group of white supremacists seem to track them as they walk back to their car.

VANCE LONG, FRIEND OF DEANDRE HARRIS: We were listening to the clan, Neo-Nazi, whatever, whatever everybody want to call them. They threw stuff at us. As we approach the garage, out of nowhere, just chaotic you see them everywhere. It is like almost a hunred of those people Neo-Nazis wants to go, whatever you want to call them, they just started sacking everybody. At one point, I'm crying. I mean, I see my best friend, he has nearly died.

TODD: Investigators are also learning more tonight about the suspect, James Fields, who is now being held on multiple charges, including second-degree murder for allegedly ramming his car into a crowd of people Saturday. CNN has obtained Kentucky 911 logs made between 2010 and 2013, from the home of Fields' mother, Samantha Bloom.

Bloom claimed her son whose name is redacted from the logs, smacked her in the head with a phone, and put his hands over her mouth. She said she locked herself in the bathroom because she was afraid of him. A former neighbor who wished not to be identified told CNN that Bloom lived with Fields in their Kentucky home to before moving to Ohio. Attorney Charles Weber, Jr., has been appointed by the judge to defend Fields. Earlier this year, Weber was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city of Charlottesville to stop the removal of Robert E. Lee's statute. CNN has tried several times to reach Charles Weber comment on the case. He has not responded.

The tensions sparked in Charlottesville, now emanating throughout the country. In Durham, North Carolina, protesters in solidarity with antiracist activists in Charlottesville, confederate statue outside the courthouse.


CHURCH: Brian Todd with that report. We will take a short break here. But still to come, China is warning both the United States and North Korea to stop antagonizing each other, but will either country ease up. A live report from the Korean Peninsula still to come. And a report from a part of Syria that feels more like spring break

than civil war.


[03:19:38] CHURCH: At least 30 people were killed and more than 80 others were wounded in a triple suicide attack in Nigeria's Borno State. Three female bombers targeted the market and the camp of people displaced by violence caused by Boka Haram militants. And so far, no group has claimed responsibility.

China is telling North Korea and the United States to put the brakes on provocative words and actions. That's after the North indicated it's willing to hold off for now, at least, on plans to find missiles toward Guam. China's message comes as the U.S. continues to weigh its options.


HEATHER NAUERT, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We're willing to sit down and talk with them, but it appears that that is not going to happen imminently. They have to take some serious steps before we get there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does not doing something count as a step?

NAUERT: I think they would have to be a little bit more clear. And again, when Kim Jong-un talked about Guam, that again is hypothetical.


NAUERT: So they would have to do a lot more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So just to be clear, not launching ballistic missiles towards Guam is not enough for you guys to talk with them.

NAUERT: I feel that sort of a question that my child might propose, you know. If my child were to say, hey, mom, I don't steal those cookie, will you then give me television? No, the answer is no. We can all relate to that.



CHURCH: And as tensions continue to grow with North Korea, the U.S. and Japan are holding joint military drills to strengthen ties between the two countries. U.S. Marines and the Japanese self-defense force took part in a live fire exercise on Japan's Hokkaido Island on Wednesday. It is part of Northern Viper 17, the largest drill that U.S. and Japan have carried out.

Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Seoul in South Korea. Kristie, China has told North Korea and the United States to cool down the rhetoric and stop the provocations. What more might China do you think, and what impact could these joint U.S.-Japan drills have on the situation?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is interesting to examine the issue of China's leverage. In one hand, we know that China has economic leverage over the North Korean crisis. It has been called one of the principal economic enablers of North Korea's weapons program. It did sign on to these punishing sanctions, which kicked in yesterday, with that ban on North Korean import of seafood and also steel and other iron products.

But what about the diplomatic leverage? China has been asking for this double freeze, a freeze in the North Korean weapons activities, as well as a freeze in the South Korean and U.S. mass military drills. But as we heard from General Joseph Dunford earlier this week, after meeting with the South Korean president, those drills as planned will go ahead next week. But the mood, this is critical right now on the Korean Peninsula, is calm. Everyone is taking a breather right now. It is a wait-and-see mode after North Korea appears to back away from its plan to strike the waters off of Guam, after both North Korea and the U.S. appeared to step away from that cycle of bluster and counter bluster, and as the United States works hard to reassure allies in the region.

We know that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is continuing his visit in the region today. He's in Tokyo. Earlier, he was in Beijing and Seoul. And we heard that statement overnight from the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying that the United States is interested in finding a way to dialogue. It is only up to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

While here in Seoul, we have been very keen to try to understand what South Korean officials are thinking. And we had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Chung-in Moon. He is a senior presidential aide. He works closely with the president of South Korea. He told me that the recent tensions are the worst he has seen since the 1970s. And he also added that the U.S. playbook on Pyongyang needs an upgrade. Take a listen.


CHUNG-IN MOON, SENIOR PRESIDENTIAL AIDE, SOUTH KOREA: North Korea is now a country with nuclear weapons. And for me, with delivery capability, that's a reality. Then we should come out with strategies to deal with this reality. OK. We cannot rely on old strategies. If we want North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, then we should give incentives. And it is time for us, South Korea, Japan, United States, China, Russia, altogether to come up with some kind of package of incentives to make North Korea to (inaudible) its nuclear weapons. It is not easy.


STOUT: Top South Korean presidential aide Chung-in Moon speaking to me earlier here in Seoul, you know, basically saying we have to knowledge that North Korea does have nuclear weapons and you have to give them incentives, if you want them to get to the negotiating table. Thank you, Rosemary. CHURCH: Indeed. Kristie Lu Stout joining us there live from Seoul in South Korea, where it is nearly 4:30 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

Well, for years, we have some images of devastation throughout Syria in the countries of civil war, but there is also a part of Syria many of us don't see, an oasis filled with booze and beaches. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports.


[03:24:55] FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENRIO INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the Syrian civil war the world sees all too often, massive carnage, several hundred thousand people killed according to the United Nations. But believe it or not, this is also Syria.

We're at the Syria beach resort in Latakia where many Syrians come to forget the war ravaging their country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are happy here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is relaxing. More fun. So many people have problems in their lives today. It is hard to live in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are so tired even now.

PLEITGEN: From jet skis to booze on the beach, this place feels more like spring break than civil war. And what is even more remarkable, tourism has expanded in the past years.

Latakia and similar cities along Syrian coasts have grown a great deal since it started here in Syria, with bars and clubs opening all the time. The folks who come here are everything from holidaymakers to soldiers taking recreation from their duty on the front line.

Latakia is the heartland of supporters of Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad. And once night falls, many of the soldiers can be seen in the bars and clubs here, like Moscow Cafe, named that way to thank Russia for supporting Assad, the manager says.

The Russians have always been our friend, he says. We change our name to Moscow Cafe after the Russian vetoed a U.N. resolution against our government for the first time in 2011. Just to say, thank you.

Another thing, most people may not associate with Syria is the class of super rich. And this is where they go, the 360 lounge and club near Latakia's port. The owner says the club is good business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have VIP population or the class A. But we have -- our prices are affordable.

PLEITGEN: Lavish parties and brutal civil war, both a reality in today's Syria. A country full of divisions, paradoxes, and extremes struggling to find a way to overcome them. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Latakia, Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: President Trump has proven once again that he is unlike any other president that has come before him. Why his reaction to the violence in Charlottesville has drawn such outrage, that's next.

And later this hour, why an EU official is calling Britain's proposed customs plan a fantasy.


[03:30:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Welcome back everyone. U.S President Donald Trump seems to be walking back he's own measured statement on the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in an impromptu Q&A session with reporters he drew in a powered moral equivalency between the hate groups and those who oppose him.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had to see the facts unlike a lot of reporters...


TRUMP: ... unlike a lot of reporters...


TRUMP: I didn't know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. There is another side. There was a group on this side you can call on the left -- you just call them the left that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want but that's the way it is.


CHURCH: Shortly afterwards, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted this, we must be clear white supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. It can be no moral ambiguity.

Well, discussions on the tragedy itself and the president's response to it have been heated. CNN's Anderson Cooper hosted a panel of commentators earlier. Here it is.


BAKARI SELLERS, CNN ANALYST FOR PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES: But at the end of this, people will not remember the words of our enemies but they will remember the silence of our friends.

And then so people -- good people begin to stand up against this type of hate and bigotry, and rebuke the president, but your soft from Paul Ryan, that wasn't a strong statement, he's living (Inaudible) Donald Trump's name.

We need people to have some fortitude who really understand what this country is about. Donald Trump doesn't represent that.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Paris, you swore to the president, yesterday you're, you know, saying what's good that the president made a stated that he -- I'm wondering today when you heard him essentially revert back to what he said Saturday, what do you think?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First, I didn't think what he said Saturday was wrong. I think what he said Saturday was appropriate. I think what he said Saturday denounced, hatred, bigotry and violence which was appropriate.

I was an appropriate response that he gave. It was similar to the appropriate response that President Obama gave after the white supremacist clearly -- clearly bigoted Dylann Roof shot at the people in Charleston.

And so, when he reverted back to that, I thought it was appropriate to say that I...

COOPER: but doesn't -- I mean, just saying of generalized hatred and bigotry clearly Donald Trump's lines that he was talking also about counter protesters.

DENNARD: But there's no action. I think if you listen to what he said today, he was talking about the violence.

COOPER: Right, and he's saying there was violence on both sides.



SELLER: But this is the problem though -- but this is the problem, Paris, I want to show you respect and I apologize.

PARIS: No, you're not when you cut off the -- go ahead and continue.

SELLER: I will though because this is an important, because we're having an amazing discussion and an amazing platform in front of the world and we -- I cannot allow you to remark that there is some moral equivalence between those people who believe in xenophobia and bigotry, and those people who believe in justice, and those people who believe in justice.


PARIS: So I didn't -- So I didn't say there was a moral equivalency to those people, what I am saying is what I believe the president was saying when he said many sites referring to the violence that he saw on both sides.

Meaning, I haven't seen two races fight each other. If you are a racist and I'm racist, we have no reason to fight each other. We have no reason to curse each other out.

SELLER: I have no idea what you're talking about. SANDERS: How about -- how about, let's...

PARIS: Go ahead. No, go ahead, you can talk now.


SANDERS: So the president asks a reporter -- the reporter asked about alt-right white supremacy and he said, what is alt-right, how about you define it? So I am concerned that the president looks like a white supremacist sympathizer up there in that podium today.

PARIS: No, I think...

SANDERS: You don't think he look like that?

PARIS: No, I don't but I actually asked someone today to define what the alt-right was.

SANDERS: White supremacy and cockish.

PARIS: OK, that's...

SANDERS: That my definition.

PARIS: Well, that's your definition but I don't think that's a very broad, similar definition...


SELLER: Why can't I tackle -- why can't I tackle white supremacy? I mean can't we -- I mean, because you understand -- you do understand that the remit to white supremacy permeates itself into the systems of oppression in this country. And so we're not...

PARIS: And they -- and they...


PARIS: And they predate Donald J. Trump.

SELLER: That's right.

PARIS: And they predate Barack Obama. They predate George W. Bush. They have been -- they have been in this country for a very long time...

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wait, but Paris, aren't we supposed to be getting better.

Aren't we supposed to be evolving away from that, not encouraging it and I want to speak to something you said about the fact that you thought that his comments on Saturday were fine.

You may have and I think that's absolutely right and there are other people who also felt that it was fine what he said even though he did not specifically disavow... (CROSSTALK)

PARIS: President Obama's remarks after Charleston -- you don't let me finish...


PARIS: President Obama's remarks after Charleston, do you think they were fine?

SIDNER: Here's my question to you, why do you keep going back to the new president, are you not proud of your new president?


PARIS: I am so proud of our president.

SIDNER: He's now in power. He's now in power.


PARIS: I can't go backwards but you can go backwards.

SIDNER: I'm not going back there.

[03:35:00] (CROSSTALK)

SELLER: Let's talk about Charleston, because you know what Barrack Obama did do? He picked up the phone and called the victims and the victims' families.

Donald Trump hasn't even called the mother of the young lady, who was run-over. You want to go backwards? Amazing grace. You want to go backwards? We can talk about what Barack Obama did. Show me what Donald Trump is doing to build the country.

PARIS: I'm sorry.


CHURCH: A heated debate there on other CNN analyst, commentators and reporters have also been weighing on Mr. Trump's handling of the Charlottesville controversy and you can find the various interviews and videos at and on the app.

Well, the death toll in Sierra Leone is rising as crew search for survivors after massive mudslides. Now this season's rainfall is more than twice as heavy as usual, at least 245 people are dead and hundreds of others are still missing.

Sierra Leone's president has declared a week of mourning. CNN's Farai Sevenzo joins us now live from Nairobi in Kenya. Farai, good to see you. A week of mourning for victims of this tragedy, how a search rescue and recovery is progressing at this time?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Rosemary. It's still so pretty wet here. We haven't talked to you formally in Nairobi.

Yes, this rain is as hampered rescue efforts but I'm told by our man in Freetown -- I was to -- a few minutes before I'm speaking to you that the operation has moved from risky to recovery. Now people are worried about the homeless.

There are 2 to 5000 people in this area that are homeless. The government pathology see us today, decided to take all the bodies that have been amputated and mutilated because remember, they were taken more than a mile from where they were sleeping and down in this cascade of water and mud.

And the pathologist also told us that it's more than likely that many of the missing men, aren't be find, because the natural progression of this cascade of water and mud, and debris was heading straight into the ocean -- into the Atlantic Ocean.

So it is more than likely that bodies will keep popping up on the beach even, ix months from now. So the situation is, as you save said, much of mourning, people come to chose what's going on and apologies now is apologies of survival. And of course, tragic comes to terms that they agree, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Indeed, and of course, what all is the government going to help the survivors and the families of the victims?

SEVENZO: That is the question of the hour. The moment said that they are trying to find out who's still missing, they try to find out how many people lived in this area and of course, questions are now being asked about why it is that so many houses have been cropping up in this area right below Sugarloaf Mountain.

And without planning permission, but then of course, we must remember, Rosemary, even those houses with planning permission fell victim into this natural disaster which has become a massive tragedy for the people of Sierra and indeed Freetown.

CHURCH: It is indeed a very tragic story. Farai Sevenzo, joining us there from Nairobi in Kenya but following events there in Sierra Leone. Many thanks.

And you can help those affected by the mudslides and flood in Sierra Leone, check out how by going to Well, Britain's post break the customs plan is stirring debate in Europe.

Coming up next, why the proposal is so controversial. Plus, Britain most powerful warship receives a warm welcome at his new home, details on HMS Queen Elizabeth, its role and its journey to England. We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. The European Parliament's main Brexit coordinator is calling Britain's proposed customs plan, a fantasy. Britain wants to maintain existing customs rules with Europe for about

two years after Brexit, while still negotiating its own trade deals with other countries. Our Lisa Suarez shows us why the plan is stirring up so much controversy.


LISA SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The lock is ticking on Brexit and the U.K. is wasting no time in laying out its roadmap for what it wants on trade, calling for temporary customs union with E.U. that will facilitate the freest and most friction less possible trade in goods between both.

It's a proposal some argue proves the U.K. only wants to have its cake and eat it, an accusation, Brexit secretary David Davis in test.

DAVID DAVIS, BRITISH BREXIT SECRETARY: It's actually in their interest too. I mean, we sell Euro 230 billion of goods to them -- goods in associate to them every year. They sell Euro 290 billion to us.

If you are a BMW or Siemens, or Bavaria, if you are a company in Holland or the (Inaudible) Port of Rotterdam, you want this to work. You want a smooth frictionless trading arrangement so you can sell into one of the biggest and fastest growing markets in your own.

SUAREZ: The E.U. Customs Union allows goods to be freely between mend the state and that means that between the 27 countries, there are few checks and no tax -- or taxes are imposed on each other's goods.

They're sating in for the U.K., even if it's just for an interim period of two years. And as being proposed, means businesses can avoid high costs of goods and less disruption.

After that though impose 2019, the U.K. want a highly streamlined board with E.U. which begs the question, why not stay in the Custom Union as it is rather than (Inaudible) your customs?

DAVIS: Because -- because it takes away our right to do deals with the rest of the world which is a big upside for the United Kingdom and this.

SUAREZ: The proposal is already raising eyebrows in the continent with some saying, it's a fantasy but they are being -- commission is being somewhat more measured, calling it a positive step.

But reminding it of its continuing position on the matter, basically saying that frictionless straight is not possible outside of the Customs Union and outside of the single market, which should make for interesting talks when both sides meet into its time. Lisa Suarez, CNN London.


CHURCH: And fears surrounding Britain's plan to quit the European Union may be impacting London's job market. The headhunting firm of Morgan McKinley warns the number of professionals seeking work in London is down by 33 percent compared with last summer.

While a number of city jobs available has dropped 11 percent. The firm also cites a more upbeat trend with an increase of job seekers from June to July of this year. Well, economist Dennis Novy joins us now from London with his perspective on this. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: Well, the statistics are a little sobering up there when it comes to London's job market. What impact do you think Brexit will have ultimately on Britain's economy overall in the short and in the long-term?

NOVY: Well, the impact will be negative on the British economy, that's clear. The big question is how negative and that will all depend on the deals that Britain ultimately wants to get with the European Union. If it's a hard Brexit, it will be very bad, if it's a very soft Brexit, it might be not so bad.

CHURCH: Once you're gut feeling as an economist, when you look at the weather approaching things with Brexit at this time.

NOVY: Well the U.K. government essentially doesn't really know yet what it wants to do. The best thing to come out of this paper they put forward yesterday is finally the recognition that it has to be a transition.

[03:45:00] In other words, a hard Brexit will be disastrous for the British economy. That's -- that penny seems to have dropped now even for the U.K. government. But what exactly is the arrangement going to look like, that Britain will have with European Union.

All the details are still up in the air and actually not workable and they have been widely derided ever since the paper was published yesterday.

CHURCH: So what will it mean for Britain ultimately if this patent of fewer applicants and fewer jobs continues?

NOVY: The big problem for the economy right now is uncertainty. Britain will leave the European Union by March 2019. The clock is ticking.

This means lots of people are thinking about their future in this country especially young people and it's not clear whether they want to start finding a job now in London or elsewhere in the U.K., if they may not even be allowed to have stayed for the long run or if that companies might relocate after some time.

And likewise, businesses need to invest. Investment figures are not looking good right now for the U.K. and the longer that uncertainty persists, the worst economic outcome for the U.K.

CHURCH: And will brain drain be a big problem, do you think? NOVY: Well it will be a problem yes. I mean, some banks have already announced that their relocating some jobs to places like Dublin or Frankfurt, or Paris, or Amsterdam, and that is a brain drain because these people that they would otherwise have employed in the U.K. are highly trained.

Their highly skilled that pay a lot of taxes and all that money that they would've paid to the U.K. is going to shift out to other European countries and other things might happen in science, that might happen for engineering, it all depends on the details and we know precious little yet about the details.

CHURCH: And as we reported, the European parliament Brexit coordinator is calling Britain's proposed customs plan, a fantasy. Do you agree?

NOVY: Yes, I mean, Britain wants to have its cake and eat it. It wants to remain in the Customs Union, meaning remaining tariff free with European Union as of right now.

But at the same time, undermine that agreement by having trade negotiations with other countries. Why on earth should the E.U. agree to that? It's not something that any normal rational act that would ever allow it to happen. So the E.U. will actually attach conditions to this. It will not fly.

CHURCH: And just quickly, Dennis, as an economist, what do you think? What's your -- your concern here? How concerned are you?

NOVY: I am very concerned, especially when it comes to tax revenue for the U.K. Ultimately, the U.K. needs taxes just like any other country to pay for health services, infrastructure, schools, police and so on, and that's where possibly a lot of pressure will come.

The very people that support Brexit might be hit very hard because there will no longer be no money left for the NHS and investment and all those eras will have to go down.

CHURCH: Dennis Novy, great to talk to you, joining us there live from London just before nine in the morning, many thanks.

An important moment for the British Royal Navy, its largest and most powerful warship has arrived at its home port for the first time.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, docked last hour in Portsmouth, England after getting a ceremonial escort of dozens of small boats and military choppers.

The vessel has undergone sea trial since leaving the ship they got in Scotland in June, it will become the Navy's flagship and is expected to serve for 50 years. Well, CNN producer Bianca Nobilo, joins us now live from Portsmouth, England. So talk to us about what lies ahead for carrier.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER: Morning, Rosemary. As you said, it's been really historic morning here in Portsmouth. HMS Queen Elizabeth came into port not long ago. It's a (Inaudible) and ceremony.

The sea tip of the carrier is going to be a long one. As you say, it's going to be about 50 years in service but the carrier won't be fully operational for few years yet. So what's next is more trails with the U.S. partners.

The U.S. have huge aircraft carriers themselves have been training the British Navy at the air strike capabilities. So that will continue next year.

And meanwhile, the ship is going to be based here at its new home in Portsmouth, which is a great source of national pride for the U.K. Having the ship here is really a culmination of decades of work and it's a very proud day for the Navy.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed and of course this vessel has a big price tag attached it, doesn't it? Is there a message the rule of Navy is trying to send to its allies?

[03:50:00] NOBILO: There is and it is a huge price. It's 3 billion Pounds. This is actually one of two aircraft carriers in this project. So it's going to be a total of 6 billion Pounds.

And what I've heard from the defense ministry I've been speaking to is that this ship is intended to send a message to the U.K.'s allies and enemies, that (Inaudible) means business.

This is important of course in the context of Brexit and everyone is questioning what will the U.K.'s play going forward be in international affairs.

So today, very much send of the message that the U.K. wants to be in the center of humanitarian missions, military exercises going forward now.

CHURCH: And how much attention is this all drawing?

NOBILO: The British government is certainly trying to drum up quite a lot of attention because as you mentioned, it's a very expensive project and it's also a moment of great national pride.

So the prime ministers being here which has certainly heightened the amount of media attention. And we've also been hearing a lot from the top commanders in the Navy, too. It's been project that has received a lot of attention since it's an option back in 1997, too.

There have been delays, and of course the expense has generate to some publicity. But it's definitely a big moment receiving huge coverage across the U.K. papers here.

I mean, the ship is so gigantic as you mentioned. You know, it's 65,000 tons, it's longer than the Houses of Parliament. So it doesn't take much for this to dominate the papers and the press here at home in the U.K.

CHURCH: Very impressive, indeed. CNN Producer Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it. Now, we'll take a short break here.

Up next on CNN Newsroom, late night comedy gets a lot more serious. We'll tell you how host re skipping the jokes and targeting president Trump instead.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Late night comedy show has become a lot more serious this week. Hosts are openly expressing outrage over President Donald Trump's reaction to the violence in Charlottesville and sometimes they are even skipping the jokes. Here's our Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was one of those nights when the audience didn't seem to know when to laugh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy, what a terrible weekend.

MOOS: Because late night comedians were suddenly somber.

JIMMY FALLON, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: The fact that it took the president two days to come out and clearly denounce racist and white supremacist is shameful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The leader of our country is called the president because he is supposed to preside over our society.

MOOS: Rarely since 9/11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But why I don't despair.

MOOS: Have comedians been so conflicted about telling jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This the time to show where we talk about the news.

MOOS: And the jokes that were made seem to have extra bite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another disturbing Monday in America. You known we when into the weekend worry about Kim Jong-un starting a war, we came of it wondering if our president is eyeballs out of his bed sheets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also the clan voted for Donald Trump. Oh, that's right, I remember they were those special make America great again has.

MOOS: Will they also interviewed Anthony "the Mooch" Scaramucci.

[03:55:00] Mooch defended the president.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two days later. Does he order his spine on Amazon prime? Why did it take so long?

MOOS: Great comedians think alike and several of them listed things that President Trump condemned faster than he did Nazis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Announced freak James Comey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That cast Hamilton died...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And to save a reporter...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now they are making Ghost Busters with only women. What's going on?

MOOS: Even when Jimmy Fallon got serious talking about white supremacist.

FALLON: We can't go backward.

MOOS: A critic zinged him for how playful he once was with then candidate Trump. But as Fallon himself said...

FALLON: We can't go backward.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN New York.


CHURCH: And on Tuesday night, the comedians were back to cracking jokes but they were all about the U.S. president and how shocked they felt after that controversial news conference.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's astonishing -- the only thing I can compared to is, remember when Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's funeral.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then he bit his other ear off? This was presidential equivalent of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump said the hate and the division must stop. Yes, that's what he said. Yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he did say it. Yes. For a minute the crowd got excited because they thought Trump was resigning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all thought that General Kelly was going to bring some order to the Trump administration. General Kelly was there to witness the whole thing, seen here overwhelmed with pride. This guy is a four general. Iraq, no problem. Afghanistan, we can do

it. Twenty minutes Trump press conference, a quagmire from which our country will never move.


CHURCH: (Inaudible) there and thanks for your company. I'm rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.