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Former U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush in Failing Health; Starbucks Arrests Spark Anger; Protesters Demand Justice for Rape, Assault Victims; Bushfire Triggers Weekend of Emergency Warnings; Countdown on for the Royal Wedding. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 16, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:19] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining this hour. I'm Natalie Allen live in Atlanta.

Our top story, former FBI Director James Comey calls his former boss Donald Trump morally unfit to be president. That comment came in Comey's first T.V. interview since he was fired almost one year ago by Mr. Trump.

In a new book coming out this week, Comey writes the president was undeterred to the truth. And Comey told ABC news that Donald Trump is a stain on those around him.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.


ALLEN: Russia was also a big part of the interview specifically whether the Russians had compromised Mr. Trump.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Do you think the Russian has something on Donald Trump?

COMEY: I think it's possible. I don't know. These are more words I never thought I'd utter about the president of the United States but it's possible.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's stunning. You can't say for certain that the president of the United States is not compromised by the Russians?

COMEY: Yes, it is stunning and I wish I wasn't saying it but its just -- it's the truth. It always struck me and still strikes me it's unlikely. And, I would have been able to say with high confidence by any other president I dealt with but I can't, it's possible.


ALLEN: Before Comey's interview aired, President Trump went on a Twitter rampage against him, Sunday accusing him of sharing classified information and lying to Congress and suggesting, he face jail time. That would be Comey facing jail time.

Let's talk more about and get reaction on this interview. Joining me from Los Angeles, CNN political commentator and Republican Consultant John Thomas, and Peter Mathews, our political analyst and professor of political science at Cyprus College.

All right, gentleman, thank you for joining us. A lot of people watching this interview. First of all, the former FBI director saying at this president, he's a serial liar, he's morally unfit to be president, and he personally attacks the president, his looks, hands, hair, and thighs.

Peter, how did Mr. Comey come across to you?

PETER MATHEWS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He came across this fairly believable actually. And I think 48 percent of Americans believed Comey and 32 percent believe Trumps. Thus, those numbers tell you something. I think that Comey has a reputable, you know, past and that's really made him more credible. And I think that the people seeing it today, they'll be -- at least one-third of the people are likely to change to their minds. One-third of the Americans who have not made up their mind about Comey, they could be influence by this interview.

ALLEN: Well, John, the word Comey uses to describe Donald Trump, Republican themselves have you similar words. These aren't quite new, many people call him unfit, a bully, a fraud, unhinged. That's from his own party. So what's really new here? Many people called this book a bombshell. What is a bombshell? Is it a bombshell or is this Comey just taking his turn?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, to me this max of disgruntles a former employee who's trying to trash and burn the president with really no new information and he does it, Natalie in such a paddy way. I mean, there are many things that reasonable people can argue about what you may or may not like about the president. But to look at and talk about his tan lines and hair, and his hand size, it really undermines his argument here.

And further more, the book title is that of, "A Higher Loyalty". If it really was to a higher loyalty and not just making money and getting a bigger book signing, he should have not taken money at all to do this effort.

ALLEN: Well, let's dig deep into something that he said that's been resonating. Comey met early on with President Trump when he took the Oval Office, and Mr. Trump reportedly ask him, according to Comey to lay off Michael Flynn, his National Security adviser who was later fired by the president. Here's Comey on that meeting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you say, Mr. President, I can't discuss this. (INAUDIBLE) doing something improper?

COMEY: Maybe. Although if he didn't know he was doing something improper, why did he kick out the attorney general and the vice president of the United States and the leaders of the Intelligence Community? And why I am alone if he doesn't know the nature of the request.

But it's possible that in the moment I should -- you know, another person would have said, sir, you can't ask me that, that's a criminal investigation and that could be obstruction of justice.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And was President Trump obstructing justice?

COMEY: Possible. I mean, it certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.


ALLEN: Peter, how serious is that statement there?

MATHEWS: It's very serious because many of us hypothesized that. Buy, you know, the FBI -- former FBI agent actually come out and say that, you know, investigating, that's more credible and it has to do also with whether President Trump had the intent to obstruct justice. And Comey says there was a possibility and he did have the intent.

[01:05:00] We get to look at more deeply into that but I do believe this is a major problem for President Trump, for Comey to come out here and say it right up front that he could be -- trying to obstruct justice when he did that.

THOMAS: Natalie, it seems very hypocritical of Comey to make that argument about protocol because here's a guy who broke protocol left and right. One, he broke protocol by announcing a current investigation, you can't do that, right? He broke protocol by leaking anonymously to the press.

He also broke protocol by saying that the polls influenced his decision of whether or not to re-open and announce the Anthony Weiner laptop e-mails. It's just seems very hypocritical for him to accuse the president of protocol breach.

ALLEN: Well, President Trump fired Comey of course. He has fired numerous others in his cabinet, he is currently threatening to fire the deputy attorney general, and the numerous news accounts, he wants to fire the special counsel. The implications of course would be grave.

Let's look at New York Times editorial. Very long New York Times editorial. They wrote about this in its recent most issue. It says, "News reports point to a growing possibility that President Trump may act to cripple or shutdown an investigation by the nations top law enforcement agencies into his campaign and administration. Law makers need to be preparing now for that possibility because if and when comes to pass, they will suddenly find themselves on the edge of an abyss with the constitution in their hands."

The editorial goes on to point out that presidents are not above the rule of law. D you that you think Donald Trump, John, understands and it is concerned about that when it comes to his -- you know, what is he going to do vis-a-vis Mueller?

THOMAS: Yes. I think the president does understand that and that's why he's repeatedly said that he is not going to fire Muller. I think it's very tempting for him to dream about that outcome simply because he feels like he's being untreated fairly and some could argue that he is. But I think the president understands the implications of firing Muller would go -- would cripple his administration. I don't think he'll go that far.

ALLEN: Peter, back to you for a moment. What would be the most -- the one statement that Comey said that maybe stands out to you the most about President Trump and his worthiness to serve in that position?

MATHEWS: That he is untethered to the truth and morally unfit. That's a huge charge. But back to John's comment, you know, President Trump also said, we'll not going to -- we're going to be withdrawing from Iraq and the next thing you know is he's attacking Iraq with missiles. So, he may not fire -- maybe it seems that he may not fire Mr. Muller now at this point but what -- who knows he'll do it tomorrow or the day after.

It's very difficult to understand what this president is really up to half the time. That's a problem, John. It's the inconsistency (INAUDIBLE) the demise of the presidency. It's not just him but the institution. And that's Comey is talking about. That's what he's talking, the rule of law.

ALLEN: John, you want to respond?

THOMAS: Yes. I just was so disappointed to see Comey inter -- commingling his opinion and versions of the event. I think he would have been much better off if he had just said, look here are the events that I witnessed verbatim, no opinion, judge for it on yourself. But instead taking this whole year then kind of revenges were, I think really undermines his cause. And I just don't think, if you'd like the president, you're still going like him after this interview. If you hated him, you're going to be cheering at the screen.

I mean, I'd just don't think this change any hearts and minds other than hurting the credibility of James Comey.

ALLEN: But we will wait and see what the reaction as he goes on his book tour and the book come out. I will hopefully talk to you again.

THOMAS: And the movie.

ALLEN: And all of that, this is America. Take it as far as you can go. John Thomas, Peter Mathews as always, gentlemen, thanks so much.

THOMAS: We appreciate it.

MATHEWS: Thank you, Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, another event likely to be a torn in Mr. Trump's side. His personal attorney, Michael Cohen has been ordered to appear in court on Monday. Cohen's office, home, and hotel room were raided by the FBI last week. A judge has ordered Cohen to attend Monday's hearing on how the seized materials will be handled.

Also attending the hearing, Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who was paid $130,000 by Cohen to keep quite about an alleged affair with President Trump. Well, of course, we're covering that when that happens, Monday.

Coming up here, how French President Emmanuel Macron says he changed President Trump's mind on Syria. We'll have the details ahead.


[01:12:00] KATE RILEY, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN World Sport headlines.

(INAUDIBLE) in the way, they want to be about Manchester City, the feel being this Premier title from their own (INAUDIBLE) on Sunday as local rivals (INAUDIBLE) could lose a home handing the title over.


RILEY: And that was the moment went from top 99 seed (INAUDIBLE) the Premier League title in the past seven seasons.

Daniel Ricciardo has won the Chinese Grand Prix. Formula One's third race of the season. The Australian was emotional of the victory, he nearly wasn't able to race at all after his car blow an engine in the final practice just a day earlier. Ricciardo's (INAUDIBLE) crew got the car ready and Ricciardo did his part (INAUDIBLE) Korea title.

Finally, the 21st Commonwealth Games have come to a close on the Gold Coast with Australia the host topping the table with a phenomenal 80 gold medals. The retired eight-time Gold Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt wasn't competing of course, but, wowed the crowds with this his presence over the past few days including (INAUDIBLE) at the games closing ceremony. One of Australia's final gold medals was a one- sighted man's basketball final beating Canada 87-47.

By the way, the next games are in Birmingham, England in four years time.

And that's like the (INAUDIBLE) sports headlines. I'm Kate Riley.

ALLEN: Leaders in the U.S., France, and the U.K. are facing questions over their military acts in Syria but in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is reportedly in a good mood. He met with Russian lawmakers, Sunday, a day after allied strikes against his chemical weapons program. Syria and Russia are downplaying the attack but U.S. President Donald Trump declared it, mission accomplished.

French President Emmanuel Macron says, Mr. Trump needed some convincing.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Ten days ago, President Trump said the U.S' will is they just engage from Syria. We convinced him that it was necessary to stay. And I believe that on the diplomatic front, beyond what went on, these three strikes which are one part, but, for me, it is not the most important in what is going on in Syria. Please be reassured, we've convinced him that we had to stay on in the long-term.

The second thing is that we convinced him that we had to limit the strikes to chemical weapons, even though there had been media tech uproar by way of which you may have been aware of.


ALLEN: Mr. Trump's order to strike Syria is getting some bipartisan support in the U.S., but British Prime Minister Theresa May has explaining to do to her government. She's set, to face parliament in the coming hours. Many of lawmakers there, especially in the opposition, question her decision to launch strikes without parliament's approval.

The strikes were prompted of course, by a suspected chemical attack more than a week ago.

[01:15:01] President Trump slammed Russia for its support of Syria afterwards. Now, his ambassador to the U.N. says, Russia can expect more sanctions.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: So you will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretart Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn't already. And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used.

And so, I think everyone has going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we send a strong message and our hope is that they listen to it.


ALLEN: CNN has correspondents covering the story across the world. Let's begin now with CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, she's live in Amman, Jordan for us. And while the west looks at and analyzes the impact of the strikes, what's the sense in the region, Jomana, about, was this limited strike enough.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Natalie, people don't really think that this is going to change the course of this war. That the strikes were not really a game changer in a war where the Syrian regime and its allies seem to have the upper hand.

You know, one Syrian who was displaced from Duma recently said what we've heard from so many other Syrians, they think that these strikes were no more than a little flap on the rib for the regime.

Now, the question here really is, has the United States, has its allies really set a new red line. You know, they assessed the intelligence right now, they believe that it was that alleged chemical attack used chlorine in addition to sarin. And, you know, between last year, 2017, after that attack in Khan Shaykhun in Idlib where it was believed that it was sarin that was used. And this most recent alleged attack, there have been numerous reports of chlorine being used. The regime accused of using chlorine as a chemical weapon.

Yet, we've not seen any response to that. The question now is, have they drawn this new red line, are we going to see a response to the use of chlorine going forward. That is something that we wait to see, Natalie.

ALLEN: Yes, and Jomana, you know, we saw a video just a few moments ago of Assad holding a meeting. He's in his coat and tie, he's putting up this aura of a businessman just conducting important business. But the bottom line is, he is planning and thinking about where to go next in this war. It must be very sickening for the people who have suffered under this man to see him smiling and conducting business. So, the question is, where does he take this next?

KARADSHEH: Well, that is the big question, Natalie. Is the regime going to stop now? You know, just a few hours after those strikes, they declared victory in Eastern Ghouta and that is a very significant accomplishment upon (INAUDIBLE) for the regime, re-capturing this area that has been a thorn o the side of the regime so close having the rebels on Damascus' doorstep re-capturing that.

Is the regime going to continue? Is they're going to try and re- capture more territory from the rebels? That is what everyone is waiting to see, and people in rebel-held areas and that that's only a handful of areas that remain under rebel control in the country are absolutely terrified of what might be coming next.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): After months of relative calm on there southern fronts, this, air strikes and shilling reported in the Daraa Province despite a U.S. , Russian, and Jordanian brokered ceasefire last summer. And with the regime back by it's allies on the ground and in the sky capturing more territory from the opposition, some feel, it's a matter of time before an offensive to reclaim the south, the birthplace of the Syrian revolution.

There seems to be a strange sense of normal see on the streets of the city but almost everyone interviewed fears what might be coming.

We expected attack on Daraa any minute. We're worried about women and children from Russian air strikes, this woman says. We're afraid of the attack on us because the Russian strikes will spare no human nor stone and they all used all weapons on us, this Daraa resident says.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Before the truce like other parts of Syria, Daraa was hard hit. (INAUDIBLE) do much of the city and the province divided between the regime and the opposition.

Civilians like car mechanic Rafat al-Nassar were displaced by the fighting. He says, recent strikes were near his home leaving him no choice but just once again.

[01:20:04] Now, he's a squatter in a town close to the Jordanian border. But, Rafat says, nowhere is safe.

RAFAT AL-NASSAR, DISPLACED SYRIAN (through translator): I am worried for myself and my children. I am afraid that what happened in Ghouta would happen here. This regime can do anything, they don't care, they use chemicals, explosive bombs, and phosphorus.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): The Syrian Government has repeatedly denied the use of chemical weapons. Rebel commanders from the Free Syrian Army once receiving what they described as insufficient support from the U.S. and other allies, now say the International Community has left them to save Russia and Iran alone.

NASEEM ABU A'ARA, FREE SYRIAN ARMY COMMANDER (through translator): We have prepared ourselves to what is coming. The days ahead will have many surprises so we must be ready to overcome this phase. We have taken several measures, military, social, inspecting front lines and meeting with the people to reassure them that everything is good and we are ready to face the worst case scenario.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Any attempt to change the status quo here bringing Iranian forces closer to a border shared with Jordan and Israel could mean the start of yet another complicated chapter in the seemingly endless war.


KARADSHEH: And Natalie, it's not just in Daraa were people are actually terrified of what might be coming next. It's also in the north, in Idlib Province, that is a part of the country where millions of displaced Syrians, those who were forced out of the areas that where re-captured by the regime, they were bust to that part of the country that remains under rebel control. And their too there are absolutely terrified of a possible regime move to try and re-capture Idlib that aid groups have really described as a kill box now.

ALLEN: I can't imagine these people and what they're going through, thinking they could be next. Jomana Karadsheh for us, thank you for that report. I really appreciate it.

Well, Emmanuel Macron has said that -- in an interview today that he talked with President Trump asking him to stay in Syria when Mr. Trump had indicated he might pull out and that he wanted the strike should be limited. In response to Mr. Macron's comments, the White House issues this statement. "The U.S. mission has not changed, the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible. We expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region."

Let's turn to CNN Military Analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. Rick, thanks as always for being with us. I want to reference first Jomana Karadsheh's report there that already that there are concerns that Assad is going to push south in Daraa and then perhaps north the Idlib Province. This might have curtailed his chemical weaponry we hope so but as certainly has not for curtained his deal to keep this war going.

RET. LT. COL.RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, it's absolutely right. That was an excellent report and I think that's exactly what's happening. We're already seeing Syrian troops massing around the Yarmouk Camp in the southern suburbs of Damascus.

The regime wants to completely secure that Damascus area before they go anywhere else. After that's done then I assume they're going to go south to Daraa and reduce that pocket. And then they'll turn their focus to the north, and Idlib as you said will be the kill box. It's going to be a bloodbath, that would probably be the final battle for the opposition.

There is no way that they're going to win this. As I -- we talked before, I know how this ends but (INAUDIBLE) loses stay in power the Russians assume their power the broker rule and then the Russians, the Iranians, and the Turks are going to decide what happens in Syria. And if we don't maintain a presence there an this goes to what Macron was saying, if we don't maintain some sort of a troop presence in that region, we're not going to get a vote as to what happens in Syria, and I don't think we're going to like the outcome if we don't have a say.

ALLEN: Right, because no one wants to see Assad completely unimpeded as he continues his rampage. So the question is, how does the United States work in and around that?

FRANCONA: Well, what we need to do is to get the focus back on ISIS. If you see what's happening in Northern Syria right now the ground campaign against ISIS has ground to a stand still because all of the courage the Syrian Democratic Force has made up mostly of the Kurdish YPG which the Turks regard as a terrorists organization have stop fighting and they're moving back to the border to defend their homes against the Turks. The Turks have mounted a military operation trying to remove the Kurds from the border area and it has really (INAUDIBLE) into our plans to defeat ISIS.

[01:25:09] So, we've got to re-focus our efforts in Northern Syria on ISIS. That's the mission right now, the American mission is to reduce those ISIS pockets and eliminate ISIS on the ground. We're not doing that right now, and until the Turks can brought -- be brought back into the fold it's not going to happen.

ALLEN: But let's talk about this psyche of Assad. We were just seeing video of him there meeting with his team, he's got his coat and tie on, he's acting like it's no big deal and yet this pariah marches on. I mean, the appearance suggests (INAUDIBLE) being a business man conducting business is rather sickening and it somehow he just continues to say insolated from all that's going on around him.

FRANCONA: Yes. Syrian media is full of coverage of he and his family. You know, acting like nothing is going on. We see life in Damascus pretty normal and this is all a show because the Syrians believe and the regime in particular that they've dodged the bullet here. The strikes over the weekend did what they were supposed to do, they eliminated that chemical RND facility (INAUDIBLE), and it sent the message to the Syrians that if you use chemical weapons the rest of the world react. But if you don't use chemical weapons everybody is willing to just let it happen which is unfortunate, the Russians notice as well. And I think the Russians are the once that are going to put the pressure on Bashar al-Assad not to use chemicals.

So I think we're -- it's been successful in that part because the Russians are really the ones that Bashar al-Assad is going to listen to.

ALLEN: All right, Rick Francona, as always, we thank you, Rick and see you again.

A massive bush fire is raging on the outskirts of Sydney and our Pedram Javaheri will tell us this questionable, how this one was started. That's coming up.


[01:30:31] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Natalie Allen with our top stories this hour.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad met with Russian lawmakers Sunday; this after the U.S., France and U.K. launched military strikes against Syria early Saturday. Russian media report Mr. Al Assad said Soviet era defense systems helped repel the Western strike. However, the U.S. says all the missiles launched hit their targets.

In a televised interview, French President Emmanuel Macron says he had to convince President Trump to keep U.S. troops in Syria for the long- term and to limit the joint strikes to chemical weapon sites. Earlier this month, President Trump did say U.S. troops would withdraw from the country soon.

Parts of southwest Sydney, Australia have been under an emergency warning for most of the weekend in the face of an out-of-control bush fire. More than 2,400 hectares have burned since Saturday. There are no reports of any deaths. But it's not clear what started the fire. Officials are treating it as suspicious. We'll have more about it in a few minutes. >

Fired FBI director James Comey gave a frank interview to ABC News a few hours ago. In it he called U.S. President Donald Trump morally unfit to be president. And this comes just days before the release of Comey's book about his short but turbulent involvement with the 2016 presidential campaign and the ensuing Trump administration.

Among the topics Comey touched on was the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe -- you probably remember that one. He told ABC News he did not intend to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. You'll recall just days before, Comey announced the FBI had reopened the probe into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. Clinton said that caused her the election. Comey explained his thinking.


JAMES COMEY FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. And so I'm sure that it was a factor. I guess I don't remember spelling it out but it had to have been that she's going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she'll be illegitimate the moment she's elected.


ALLEN: The White House says Comey knew exactly what he was doing. On Sunday press secretary Sarah Sanders accused Comey of making decisions based on political environments not right or wrong. >

In the history of the United States, there are only two women who have been both wife and mother of a U.S. President. One of those women is Barbara Bush.

CNN has learned she's in very poor health. We get more on that from Jamie Gangel.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have some sad news. Ninety-two- year-old former first lady Barbara Bush, we are told, is in failing health according to sources close to the Bush family.

I'm told she being cared for at home in Houston. And has decided she does not want to go back into the hospital. She has opted for something called comfort care.

This is not a complete surprise. If you've seen her in public, you might have noticed that she has been on oxygen for some time. We've learned that she's been battling COPD and congestive heart failure for the last two years. And she has been in and out of the hospital multiple times.

Most recently, she was admitted to Houston Methodist on Good Friday for about ten days suffering from shortness of breath. She was doing better. She was released but then the last couple of days she started to fail again.

Her husband, former President George H.W. Bush is with her; as are her children -- Doro, Marvin and Neal. Her sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida governor, Jeb Bush have also been visiting and have been talking to her on the phone.

This is obviously a very challenging time for the family. A spokesman for the family issued a statement on Sunday thanking everyone for their prayers and kind messages of support.

Jamie Gangel, CNN -- Washington.


ALLEN: A viral video showing two African-American men being arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is triggering a difference of opinion and public outrage including a protest outside the cafe where the arrest occurred.

[01:35:04] Despite the outcry, the Philadelphia police commissioner is standing by his officers' actions.

CNN's Polo Sandoval picks it up from there.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Michael -- Starbucks has repeatedly apologized for what happened saying their practices are what led to the arrests of these two men in Philadelphia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's ridiculous.

SANDOVAL: Employees at this Philadelphia Starbucks had asked two men to leave their location before this viral video was shot according to police. When the men refused to do so, the employees called officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did they get called for? Because they were black guys sitting here meeting?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what did they do? What did they do? Someone tell me what they did.

SANDOVAL: The men were arrested and taken away without incident. Melissa de Pino who originally tweeted the footage wrote "The police were called because these men hadn't ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing."

The men were eventually released after Starbucks chose not to the file trespassing charges against them. The coffee company later tweeted, "We regret that our practices and training led to the reprehensible outcome at our Philadelphia store."

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson also wrote to customers promising a face- to-face apology with the two men and also a review of the company's practices.

In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenney says the apology quote, "is not enough" saying the incident appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross standing by his officers' response posting this message on Facebook.

RICHARD ROSS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: The police did not just happen upon this event. They did not just walk into Starbucks to get coffee. They were called there for a service and that service had to do with (INAUDIBLE) a disturbance, a disturbance that had to do with trespassing.

SANDOVAL: Commissioner Ross maintaining his officers followed policy and had legal standing to make the arrests.

And Michael -- not only is the police commissioner standing by the actions of his officers, he's also clarifying for the public that his command staff undergoes this implicit bias training, part of several programs that have been in place for the Philadelphia Police Department.


ALLEN: Polo Sandoval reporting there.

Again there is a massive bush fire threatening the suburbs of Sydney and we'll have the very latest on the battle against it and the investigation to how it got started coming up here.

Plus, with just five weeks until Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding more details emerging like who is and isn't on the guest list. Some surprises coming up.


Thousands of protesters took to the streets in major Indian cities again Sunday demanding justice in cases involving rapes and assaults of minors including that of an eight-year-old Muslim girl.

Police say the child was abducted, gang raped and murdered by a group of Hindu men in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The case has inflamed religious tensions in the region. A Hindu nationalist group claims the local Muslim police force investigating the case is biased against the accused.

For more I'm joined now by CNN New Delhi bureau chief, Nikhil Kumar.

Again -- this is another just horrific story of abuse of a child. India has seen others but this is even more complicated perhaps than others in the past -- Nikhil.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: That's right -- Natalie. You know, as you said, protests -- there were protests all across the country yesterday. There's a front page from this morning in New Delhi from one of the major newspapers here. And people have been coming out to protest two cases in particular that have hit the headlines and dominated attention here over the past week. The first, which you mentioned, which is this horrific tale involving an eight-year-old girl. The case dates back -- dates back, excuse me -- from January. The charges were filed earlier this month.

And the story they tell is absolutely horrific. The girl was out in a meadow in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, it's a jungle (ph) section which is to the south in a remote area. But the allegation is that she was abducted and then gang raped. Eight people have been arrested among them three policemen and a retired government official.

The girl belonged to a nomadic Muslim community and this area is dominated by Hindus who are in the majority across this country. And there were protests when -- by local Hindus, there were protests when the charges where about to be filed claiming bias on the part of the investigators against the accused.

And that really captured the national attention because two issues came together. One is, of course, the focus again on violence against women. This is a problem that this country's been grappling with for years and years. And the other was the way some people are rising up to defend the accused.

Now, there's a second case in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh which dates back to last year, in fact, which involves a lawmaker from the local government which is run by the party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a nationalist right wing party.

And so these two issues, the merging of concern about Hindu nationalism and concern of course, continuing concern about violence against women has triggered these protests; thousands of people coming out on the streets -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And it comes at a time when Hindu nationalism is spreading throughout India.

KUMKAR: That's right. That's right. And so that's been -- that's been a major concern. You know, there have been the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party, the BJP, the Bharatia Janata Party, Indian people's party belongs to the Hindu nationalist right wing.

There have been concerns ever since they came into power really about how their presence at the top of government here will empower right wing elements across this country. And in both of these cases, these cases of violence and rape, those concerns -- those concerns have been underlined by these cases.

The case in Kashmir, in Jammu and Kashmir, you know, involves people coming out, Hindu nationalists coming out in defense of the accused, according to reports only because they are Hindu.

And in the other case in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the MLA, the local legislature belongs to the BJP. The government is run by the BJP, Hindu nationalists. And there have been great concerns about whether or not that has stopped the investigation agencies from going far enough. [01:44:55] He was finally arrested after a central agency was handed the case, the Indian equivalent of the FBI. But the local government was called out by the courts for not doing enough.

So these cases have served to underline those worries. And of course, as I said earlier, once again, renewed concerns about the position of women in India and the violence against them. And really prompting a lot of people to ask the question, well, you know, there was that rape case in 2012 in Delhi which, you know, captured global attention really. And yet all of these years later, once again, we're back here again talking about violence against in one case an eight-year-old, in another case against a 16-year-old and nothing seems to have changed -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Very, very unfortunate. Hopefully justice will be served in these cases. But yes, you're right. Nothing can bring these innocent girls back.

Nikhil Kumar for us -- thanks so much. >

As we mentioned, parts of southwest Sydney, Australia have been under an emergency warning for most of the weekend in the face of an out-of- control bush fire. More than 2,400 hectares have burned since Saturday. No reports of deaths, we're happy to say, but authorities are treating the cause of the fire as suspicious right now.


SHANE FITZSIMMONS, NEW SOUTH WALES RURAL FIRE SERVICE: Somebody announced a strike force investigating the cause and origin of this fire. They're working very closely with dedicated and specialist fire investigators to support the police.

At this stage, obviously we are treating it as suspicious in the absence of any other obvious cause. And as the police have said and as we always say, if anyone has seen or heard anything that they don't think is right, then please contact Crimestoppers, 1-800-333-000. It could be the little bit of information that the police are looking for to solve what the cause and origin of this fire might have been.


ALLEN: Well, while the investigation looks into that, let's go to Pedram Javaheri who is following the path of this fire. How strong it is. And what's the hope that they can get it under control -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, there is hope, at least the next couple days, Natalie -- I think the best weather in place in the foreseeable future at least to be able to contain the flames. But really a spectacular sight when you take a look at some of the aerial footage here of what has happened in recent days.

We know rainfall has been very few and far between over the last several weeks. In fact I looked into this. And only two rain events, two times it has rained in the first 16 days of the month of April and only three times it has rained in about the last month across this region.

But there's the burn scar area -- roughly 23 kilometers away from downtown Sydney so close proximity to the city center. Of course a lot of people are impacted by this as well. But you get up into space, the weather satellite situated some 700 miles -- or 700 kilometers I should say, about 400 miles above the earth's surface. You see it right there -- trying to show you what is visible from space as far as the large smoke plumes associated with the flames in this region.

But the tremendous heat certainly had a lot to do with it leading up to this. We've had very dry conditions, as I mentioned. Among the hottest temperatures we've ever seen in the month of April, pushing up close 37 degrees and nine days above 25 in the region.

So with all that said, the gusty winds we had in recent days, that certainly didn't help in trying to contain these fires. We do have some blustery weather in place as well.

But there is a front trying to sneak in here. With it some showers are possible, some wet weather again and much cooler temps at least the next couple of days before we go back into a warmer trend in a very unusually mild autumn there set up across portions of Australia over the next several days again. But that's the perspective there.

A quick glance here at what's happening across Western Europe. I want to touch on something here. We're in the works of a tremendous summer-like heat wave over next several days across portions of Europe. If you're tuned in, in places such as Paris, in places such as London get ready for this. We're talking July to August-like warmth in the next several days.

Break out the shorts and t-shirts. How about this -- up to 25 degrees, in fact the warmest the average in London there Natalie, is about 24 in late July. This goes above July temps as we approach the heart of this week. So pretty impressive setup.

ALLEN: Absolutely. Pedram -- as always, thank you.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

ALLEN: All right.

Next here, a huge music festival in California from Coachella -- that's its name -- to Bey-chella. Whatever -- why Beyonce's Beyhive renamed the California music festival in her honor.


JAVAHERI: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, CNN weather watch. And what an impressive run of wintry weather across portions of the U.S. where upwards of 60 centimeters of snow fell across parts of the U.S., parts of ten states dealing with at least 30 centimeters of snow.

The departing system -- it's still there. It's still producing some snow showers around northern portions of the state of Michigan. And the conditions across really parts of the Midwest going to gradually improve from some showers possible in the form of wintry weather on Monday in Chicago to eventually back up into the double digits.

But believe it or not even when we warm up, we still stay below where we should be for this time of year. So, somewhat of a seasonably cool setup here for the week across the Midwestern U.S.

New York City around 15 degrees, some rain showers -- a little bit cooler down in Atlanta with blustery winds. About 14 is what is expected across that region. But notice again all of it really points at a warming trend at least towards the middle of the week across the eastern U.S. as the cold air finally exits the picture and parks itself around parts of extreme northeastern U.S.

But down to the Caribbean we go. Expect Havana to be into the middle 20s. Nassau pushing up close to 30. Could see some morning storms and down towards Caracas, around 30 degrees with some possible thunderstorms in the forecast there.

Take you farther towards the south. It is the time of the year you begin to see activity really ramp up in afternoon variety storms. Manaus makes it up to 28 with thunderstorms. >

ALLEN: With the royal countdown on, many have been wondering about the details of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding like who is on the guest list; what's on the menu; and, of course, the big one, what would she wear? Which designer?

Isa Soares tells us what we know so far.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're just five weeks away from Harry and Meghan's big day and wedding plans are in full swing. Not only for the royal couple but for the hundreds of VIPs who have now received invitations for the nuptials with some notable exceptions.

Kensington Palace announced that political leaders won't be attending. U.S. President Donald Trump and even British Prime Minister Theresa May were not asked to Windsor Castle on May 19th.

Prince Harry's brother William is, of course, expected to attend but has a royal event of his own on the way. The Duchess of Cambridge is set to give birth to their third child later this month.

Of course with much public fascination, Harry and Meghan's event will be quite a public wedding. More than 2,000 have been invited to the area just outside the chapel. And along the royal procession 100,000 cheering royal fans are expected nearby trying to catch a glimpse of the happy couple.

As London police are planning security detail, accordingly the royal couple are finalizing their details of their day. Harry and Meghan chose Alexi Lubomirski as the official wedding photographer. The New York-based fashion photographer also did the couple's engagement photos. And he's a former assistant to Mario Testino who is famed for photos of Harry's late mother, Diana.

[01:54:56] But for the wedding cake, the couple chose to stay closer to home. A London-based pastry clef will prepare lemon elderflower cake for guests, a slight change from the traditional fruitcake.

Kensington palace has been tight-lipped about what else will be on menu or what kind of entertainment there might be. The biggest question that remains -- who exactly will design that wedding dress?

Isa Soares, CNN -- London.


ALLEN: All right. Now we go to American royalty. The Beyhive is buzzing. Singer Beyonce headlined the Coachella music festival in California Saturday night becoming the first woman of color to headline the event. And her historic performance included surprises.

Beyonce reunited with former Destiny's child band mates -- Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, seen right there. She also sang with her husband Jay-Z and danced with her sister Solange. Fans have been waiting one year for this performance after Beyonce canceled last year because she was pregnant with twins.

That is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

Stay with us, the news continues next with Rosemary Church and Cyril Vanier. You're watching CNN.


[02:00:06] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Morally unfit to be president -- former FBI director James Comey says President Donald Trump does not belong in the White House.