Return to Transcripts main page
Lawmakers Reacts on U.S.-South Korea Military Freeze; Countries Closing Doors to Migrants; Trump Zero Tolerance on Immigrants; Humanitarian Catastrophe Looms In Yemen City; President Trump's Personal Attorney Splits With His Own Legal Team; Remembering The Grenfell Tower Victims One Year On; Video Assistant Referee To Make World Cup Debut. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 14, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: President Donald Trump declares victory after his landmark Singapore summit, and in Pyongyang, the North Korean media lists huge concessions from the U.S. president.
Plus, caught in the crossfire, thousands of civilians face a looming humanitarian crisis as Saudi forces advance on Yemen's main port city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One year on and Grenfell remains a place of profound sadness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Honoring the memories of the Grenfell victims a year after the deadly high-rise fire that killed dozens of trapped residents.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN Newsroom starts right now.
An extraordinary claim from U.S. President Donald Trump telling the world there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. Hyperbole or not, it's now up to his secretary of state to implement the agreement reached in Singapore.
Mike Pompeo has spent the past few hours in South Korea, meeting with the president and foreign minister, as well as Japan's foreign minister. Among other things, Pompeo was there to explain President Trump's decision to suspend joint military drills with South Korea.
He also pushed back after North Korea said Mr. Trump promised to lift sanctions. Speaking in Seoul, Pompeo stressed that sanctions will not be lifted until there's complete denuclearization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: When we refer to the
mistakes of the past, they were providing economic and financial relief before the complete denuclearization had taken place. That is not going to happen.
President Trump made that clear not only in his press conference, but made it clear when he was with Chairman Kim Jong-un himself, that the sequence will be different this time. That's important. It is central to the understanding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Meantime, back in Washington, while the prospects of peace with North Korea were seen as a positive, President Trump's spin on the Singapore summit was greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism even among those in his own party.
CNN's Michelle Kosinski has that.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump capping a historic summit with a victory tweet. "Just landed, a long trip, but everybody now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea." A tweet that may have gone too far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that would be hyperbole.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The denuclearization, that certainly has not happened, nor is there any prospect that it will.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: No, I think they made some representations about their intention, but this is the beginning, I think, of a long, long process. We're not at the end of the road. We're at the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: And after meeting with the oppressive, murderous dictator of North Korea, whom he thanked for his time, it seems President Trump believes their relationship changes the equation. From North Korea's long history of nuclear ambition.
Meantime, North Korea's state-run media is celebrating Trump suspending joint military exercises with South Korea, without even notifying U.S. allies. Trump again tweeting, "We save a fortune by not doing war games. As long as we are negotiating in good faith, which both sides are."
Some analysts call that a giant gift to China and Russia which would to see less U.S. influence in the region.
Both have called for a freeze for freeze plan for the U.S. to freeze military exercises, in return for North Korea freezing its nuclear program. Something Trump himself said he would definitely not do back in November.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China, and we agree that we would not accept a so-called freeze for freeze agreement, like those that have consistently failed in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: But a Wall Street Journal article in January cites sources that suggest it was Russia's Vladimir Putin who gave Trump the idea to go this route during a conversation they had. And that Trump's defense secretary, James Mattis then steered the president away from it, at least until now.
Leaving Republicans doing their best to defend that Trump has given these things to Kim Jong-un, without getting any clear plan for denuclearization in return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:05:01] SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: I think the exercises are important. I'd like to see them continue, but perhaps the president believes this is a way he can move forward with President Kim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you view Kim Jong-un as a great guy who just want to do right by his people and no longer poses a threat to the United States?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Look, the status quo was not working with North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Michelle Kosinski reporting there. And our Anna Coren is in Seoul, she joins me now live. Good to see you again, Anna. So of course, as we've been reporting President Trump has declared North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, much to the dismay of many observers across the globe. What's been the reaction there in South Korea and across the region?
ANNA COREN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, look, certainly across the region, from the experts that we've spoken to, they have ridiculed this statement. The reason being is that North Korea hasn't given up anything. They haven't given up any weapons. They certainly haven't dismantled any of its known 140 nuclear facilities. We do not even know the full extent of its nuclear capability arsenal.
So really there's a feeling that President Trump has over-stretched. All that North Korea has done at this stage is sign an agreement, reaffirming its commitment to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. This is something that they have agreed to in the past. And we know what happened there.
Now, the North Koreans, they are interpreting things a little differently, according to state media, KCNA. They let the North Koreans know that the U.S. has agreed to lift sanctions as progress is made. No mention that that is on the condition of denuclearization.
And then we heard from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who has been here, that no sanctions will be lifted whatsoever until there is full denuclearization. So, Rosemary, already two days after the summit, there seems to be a very different interpretation as to what that agreement means.
CHURCH: Most definitely. And of course U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been there trying to sell the North Korea deal to allies, and he got very defensive, didn't he, about leaving out the words verifiable and irreversible in that joint document signed by Kim Jong- un and President Trump and.
But Pompeo thinks the word "complete" covers all that. What are the analysts saying about that omission?
COREN: Yes, Mike Pompeo he flew out a short time ago. He's now on his way to Beijing. But you're absolutely right, he got rather testy with reporters when they pushed him on that exact point. Why was "verifiable" left out of the key text of the agreement signed between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. And he said, quote, "I find that question insulting and ridiculous."
Well, from the analysts that I've spoken to today, they say it's a very fair question. The language, irreversible and verifiable, that has been used in the past, because it holds North Korea to account. As far as Mike Pompeo is concerned "complete" that encompasses the irreversible and verifiable.
But from the analysts' point of view, they believe that that extra text needs to be in there so that North Korea can't get out of it, that they are held to account.
Now I should also mention that Mike Pompeo had to explain himself to the president of South Korea whilst he was here, and not just going through the finer details of that summit but also the cancellation of those joint military exercises between the United States and the South Koreans. Now, everyone's putting up a very unified front, but we did hear this from the South Korean foreign minister. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KANG KYUNG-WHA, FOREIGN MINISTER OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): With regards to the Korea/U.S. Joint military exercise, this is an issue that involves the Korea/U.S. alliance and this requires consultations between the military authorities of the two countries, the Korea and the United States, and it will be the case in the future as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: That was Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha there speaking. Obviously a very polite way of saying that in future we need to be -- we need to be included, consulted. This is not a unilateral decision that you can make, because it involves both South Koreans and American troops, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Indeed, it took South Korea by surprise. It took a lot of people back in the United States by surprise as well.
Our Anna Coren reporting there, live from Seoul in South Korea where it is nearly 4.10 in the afternoon. Many thanks, as always, Anna.
[03:10:02] Well, an assault is underway in Yemen with Saudi-led ground, air and naval forces trying to recapture the port city of Hudaydah, which is currently controlled by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
U.S. officials have confirmed a naval vessel from the UAE has come under heavy rebel fire. Four Emirati troops were reportedly killed. The port city is considered a life line to the rest of Yemen. About 70 percent of food, fuel, and medicine for the country come through the port and aid agencies fear a humanitarian disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIE-CLAIRE FEGHALI, SPOKESWOMAN, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: Today we are at the point where catastrophic is becoming an understatement. The humanitarian situation will depend on how this battle is driven and then how much respect for the international humanitarian law is shown by all the parties.
Today we are also at the point where we fear that scores of civilians, tens of thousands of civilians will be displaced in Hudaydah. We are also very concerned that the water infrastructure and then the electricity infrastructure will be damaged, which will be detrimental to the population of Hudaydah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So let's bring in CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley joining us from Abu Dhabi. Sam, what more are you learning about what's happening on the ground in the port city of Hudaydah? And of course the impact this assault is having on civilians there, and will have going forward?
SAM KILEY, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, we did get some reports yesterday, Rosemary, of a number of people, but not in huge numbers, evacuating to the north of Hudaydah. That is, away from the fighting which is concentrated in the south.
There were reports of extremely heavy aerial bombardments on some of the southern suburbs of Hudaydah, about six kilometers -- six miles, 10 kilometers from the center of town. We also had the claims on the Houthis about that ship which they say was an amphibious ship of the UAE, the United Arab Emirates, they said that they hit with two missiles.
Now we've got limited confirmation of that from American sources saying that they believe a ship of that nature did come under attack. But we don't know if these four UAE troops were killed in that incident or elsewhere. Because, of course, as this force led by the Saudis but including large number of Yemeni militia and Yemeni government forces, Sudanese troops, UAE troops, and for Saudi troops to concentrate their efforts on Hudaydah, there is in all probability, given the attack that we saw yesterday on this ship, going to be a pretty powerful and violent response coming back from the Houthis.
They have rejected a ceasefire offer and handing over an idea that they should hand over to the United Nations proposed by the Saudis and others, which would effectively mean a surrender.
But nonetheless, the concern is, of course, Rosemary, as we were just hearing there, that this is going to be a humanitarian disaster. Now, some of those claims could be seen as somewhat exaggerated, such as the idea that some nine million people could be threatened with starvation by the capture of the Hudaydah port, not least.
Because the Saudis have just released a statement saying that they've got a five-point humanitarian plan, they've undertaken not to interrupt humanitarian supplies going through the port whatever happens to maintain both water and indeed, a power supplies to Hudaydah throughout this campaign.
Quite how they're going to do that whilst combining it with terrifically heavy air strikes is going to be very interesting, Rosemary.
CHURCH: It must certainly will be. Sam Kiley bringing us the latest development from his vantage point there in Abu Dhabi, many thanks to you.
And last hour, I spoke with Nadine Drummond, the spokesperson for Save the Children in Yemen, and I asked her about the effect all this has on the children there.
NADINE DRUMMOND, SPOKESPERSON, SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL: This isn't the type of life any child should live, or children should be -- have access to a life free from violence and be able to live with dignity and respect. And that's not what's happening with this assault on Hudaydah.
The ground brigades are about 10 to 15 kilometers outside of the city limits. And once -- or if they breach the city limits, the life of Hudaydahns as they know it will completely change.
CHURCH: It is a shocking situation and humanitarian organizations have warned of a catastrophic crisis in Yemen. The United Nations says the war there is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, but no one seems to be listening. Why is that?
DRUMMOND: I don't know the best way or even how to answer that question. I find it actually quite distressing. Yemen is the largest food security crisis in the world. Seven -- more than 17 million people have no idea where their next meal is coming from. [03:14:59] And in Hudaydah, most people live on one meal a day. And
this also ensures that many of those people will lose that meal. Almost 4,000 children have been manned or killed since the escalation of this crisis in 2015.
I don't know why there's silence. Part of it is I think that there's a misconception that as an aid worker, as a humanitarian worker, we're here and we're going to solve this crisis and we're going to fix it, so it will all come out in the wash, so there's nothing for anybody to be really concerned about, which is absolutely outrageous.
We're here to do a job. We're here to provide aid and support for the most vulnerable people in Yemen. And we can't do that alone. So the people or the governments who have the ability to influence the actors on the ground are the Americans, are the British, and maybe some degree, the French.
Anybody that sits on the U.N. Security Council has an obligation to influence the actors to stop the conflict. Because without that, the suffering will continue. And even I'm shocked at how bad it can get.
CHURCH: Nadine Drummond talking to me there earlier from Yemen.
We'll take a short break here, but still to come, migrants stranded in the Mediterranean are now headed for Spain, but what will Europe do with the many others seeking asylum?
And human rights activists are slamming the Trump administration's latest immigration crackdown with families being separated at the U.S. border. An expert on cross border policy talks to me about what this says about America. That's still to come. Do stay with us.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, hundreds of migrants rescued last weekend in the Mediterranean Sea are now headed for Spain, where they will make asylum claims. Their plight is highlighting a growing problem in Europe, where a number of countries are closing their borders to people fleeing their homeland.
Melissa Bell reports.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leaving one ship for another -- yet again. On Tuesday, hundreds of migrants disembarked from the Aquarius onto Italian navy ships that were to help ferry them to Spain. Ahead, another four days at sea, after Italy closed its ports on Sunday, leaving the 629 migrants in limbo.
A crime, according to the co-founder of the NGO that operates the Aquarius.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:19:58] SOPHIE BEAU, VICE PRESIDENT, SOS MEDITERRANEE (through translator): On board the Aquarius today, we have 51 women, 45 men, and 10 children. We had to re-provision Monday and Tuesday morning first by the Maltese, then by Italian boats. However, there are not enough provisions on board if the trip increases because of bad weather conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: But even as the Aquarius headed to Spain, another ship carrying even more migrants, more than 900 on this one, was allowed to dock here in Catania this Wednesday morning. The difference, this is an Italian navy ship, and Rome now says these are the only ones that will be allowed to dock in Italian ports.
Italy's interior minister and the leader of the right-wing Lega party today explained Rome's new policy to parliament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTEO SALVINI, INTERIOR MINISTER OF ITALY (through translator): I spoke with a German colleague with whom we shared the fact that we need to protect the exterior borders of Europe, not just Italy. We can't be the only ones to do what we're commendably doing in the Mediterranean enduring economic and social costs. If Europe is with us, speak now or forever keep quiet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: A new policy that has also created a rift in Europe with the French ambassador summoned by Rome after the French president described the policy as cynical and irresponsible.
European division that comes even as the E.U. looks for unity on this question. What to do with the tens of thousands of migrants who continue to land on European shores barefoot and desperate after a journey that has just been made a little more dangerous still.
Melissa Bell, CNN, Catania.
CHURCH: Across the Atlantic, a top Catholic leader is blasting the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy. It targets people caught crossing the U.S. border illegally. Protesters, activists, and some members of Congress are also speaking out and took to the streets of Washington on Wednesday.
CHURCH: Demonstrators making their voices heard, hundreds of kilometers from the U.S. border with Mexico. It's there that some 500 children are reported to have been separated from their parents since last month.
Our Ed Lavandera has more from the border town of McAllen in Texas.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Little more than a month ago, the Trump administration instituted a zero tolerance policy. The Department of Justice saying that anyone caught entering the country illegally here through the southern border would face charge a misdemeanor charge of illegal entry.
And that has dramatically changed the landscape inside of federal courtrooms here along the U.S. southern border where hundreds of people have been turning up every day in the morning, in the afternoon, to face this criminal charge.
Very different from what has been done in this country, in the United States over the last 20 years. And one of the fallouts of that policy is that hundreds of families are being separated.
The Department of Justice says it's not keeping track of how many families are separated, but here in this border town of McAllen, Texas, a federal public defender tells us over the course of the last month, more than 500 families have been separated. They describe this as an inhumane tactic, causing a great deal of stress.
The Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions says in some way they hope that this serves as a deterrent, that as word spreads back into Central America and Mexico, where most of these immigrants are coming from, the word will spread and will serve as a deterrent to keep these people from making the journey north.
Advocates and immigrant rights activists say they just don't believe that is the case. But some of the stories that we've heard from immigrants simply gut-wrenching.
One activist told us that she was told by an immigrant that her child, her baby was taken away from her while she was breast-feeding the child inside of a detention center. Just in the last couple of days, another man asked for a lenience in his sentence for pleading guilty to that illegal entry charge, and said, please give me a light sentence because I want to be able to get back to my child as soon as possible.
And activists say they have a great deal, and a great deal of concern over just how quickly and how all of these families will be reunified. They're not exactly convinced that it will work out smoothly.
So those are some of the dramatic changes we've seen here along the U.S. southern border. And many people anxiously and furiously trying to figure out how all of this will play out in the coming months.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, McAllen, Texas.
CHURCH: So let's talk more about this with Theresa Cardinal Brown, she is director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and she comes to us from Washington. Good to have you with us again.
THERESA CARDINAL BROWN, DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION POLICY, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER: Glad to be back.
CHURCH: Now, you have worked on immigration policy for many years. What's your overall assessment of the Trump administration's zero policy -- zero-tolerance policy, where anyone caught entering the country illegally, faces prosecution? BROWN: Well, clearly the president is trying to do everything he can
within the existing authorities of the law to try to deter immigrants from coming to the border.
[03:25:05] And this policy of prosecution and the result of that being the separation of children from adults that they may be traveling with, is an attempt to sort of convince migrants that coming to the U.S. border is not going to go well for them. It's going to be bad.
It remains to be seen whether the impact is going to be what he wants, but that's clearly the attempt that's being tried here. I think there's also a portion of this that is about trying to force Congress to act, if the administration is saying, we have to do this, because we don't have another choice, unless Congress does something, that may be something that they're trying to do as well.
But as a matter of dealing with the migration system at the border, it is creating other ramifications. It's having impacts throughout the rest of the immigration system and detention centers and immigration courts that are now going to fill up.
CHURCH: Now as you mentioned, hundreds of families are being separated as a result of this policy, children taken from parents. And the Trump administration, as you mentioned, is hoping it will actually work as a deterrent for people to stop people from coming to the United States and seeking asylum.
Is there any proof that's working, or is there any proof that there are fewer numbers that would fuel this effort and make them think, well, we've got to keep doing this, it's working?
BROWN: Well, at least in the last month, we haven't seen that. So from the April to May numbers, for example, there was still an increase in the number of people that have been apprehended at the border. So in the short time the policy's been in place, now we have not seen a deter -- a decrease in the number of people arriving.
Now it may be too soon to tell, but the other thing I would just point out, is that many of these people are fleeing crime, they are fleeing situations where they really believe their life or the life of their children -- child is in danger. And to them, yes, it's terrible that they may be detained and even separation from their children, but, you know, trying to tell a migrant, you know, stay where you are, and you believe you'll be certainly killed, or make a try to come to the U.S. border, that's a hard thing to say.
I also would say that, you know, we have to look at what this says about America, if our values are that we are going to try to make it so nasty for you to come that you won't try, is that who we are as a nation? I think that's the question a lot of people are asking.
CHURCH: Yes, I also wanted to ask you, you know, is the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy in breach of international refugee protection rules? What are human rights advocates saying about all this? BROWN: Well, under international law, of course, we are obligated to
give people who ask for asylum a chance for their cases to be heard. And the administration will say, well, they do get a chance to be heard after they have served whatever time for prosecution.
Human rights people are saying this is a cruel policy, that the impact, the actual point of this, of trying to deter asylum seekers actually is not in accordance with international law, and there are lawsuits being filed right now about that, whether or not the acts of doing this is a violation of due process since the parents are being separated from the kids.
So, I think like many Trump immigration policies, this one is likely to be litigated in the courts and we'll see where it comes down after that.
CHURCH: Yes. We certainly shall. We'll keep a very close eye on that. Theresa Cardinal Brown, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
BROWN: You're welcome.
CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here, but still to come, two British political operatives with links to the Trump campaign are being questioned about their ties to Russia. A CNN special investigation when we return.
Plus, one year on from the Grenfell tower tragedy, Britain is still haunted by that deadly fire. The survivors and the bereaved talk about the damage left by that fateful night.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we are following this hour.
In Yemen, Saudi-led forces are trying to recapture the port city of Hodeidah, currently under control of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Aid agencies fear a humanitarian disaster. About 70 percent of food, fuel and medicine comes for the country comes through that port.
The U.S. Secretary of State is trying to sell Donald Trump's North Korea deal to allies in South Korea. Mike Pompeo has met with President Moon Jae-in and the foreign ministers of both South Korea and Japan after his summit with Kim Jong-un. President Trump declared there's no more nuclear threat from North Korea, and he is halting joint military exercises with South Korea.
Hundreds of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea are on ships steaming towards Spain, where they will be allowed to start asylum procedures. Italy refused to accept them, even though the nation is letting in more than 900 others who were on an Italian rescue vessel.
President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is looking for a new legal team, as the criminal investigation against him moves forward. A source says, Cohen is bracing for the possibility of criminal charges, leaving some of Trump's allies to wonder if he is ready to change his legal strategy and turn against the President.
You will recall, of course, an FBI raid on Cohen's home, hotel room, and office back in April revealed the prosecutors had zeroed in on his personal finances, including the payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels on Mr. Trump's behalf before the election. Earlier CNN's chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, weighed in on all the developments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: His current legal team could bring him in and have him plead guilty and cooperate. So it's not like you have to get new lawyers in order to cooperate. It is often the case that when someone switches sides and does decide to cooperate, they switch lawyers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And for the President's part, he tweeted in April that he doesn't believe Cohen would turn on him.
Two British political operatives linked to President Trump's 2016 campaign are now being investigated for ties to Russia. CNN's senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin reports.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron Banks, the largest political donor to the U.K's Brexit campaign became a familiar face on the Trump Presidential campaign. He cheered on Donald Trump in Mississippi at a political rally, attended a campaign event in St. Louis, a debate in Las Vegas, even when to Trump's inauguration and has since spent time at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.
He bragged in an e-mail viewed by CNN that we've been working all summer helping the campaign. And just four days after Donald Trump was elected, Banks, along with fellow Brexit supporters Nigel Farage and Andy Wigmore, met for more than an hour with the new President elect, even before Trump had met Britain's Prime Minister. They say that meeting was unplanned. And when someone asked why the leader of Brexit was getting more face time than Prime Minister Theresa May, Bank's tweets, why struggle to understand, we are close to the campaign.
What hasn't been known until now, is Aaron Banks was at the same time, regularly meeting and communicating with Russia's ambassador to the U.K, Alexander Yakovenko.
[03:35:00] Just days after the Trump tower meeting, Banks and Wigmore had lunch again with the ambassador. Nigel Farage asked him about it on his British radio show just this week.
NIGEL FARAGE, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER AND BREXIT CHAMPION: Three days after we met President-Elect Trump, as he was, you met the Russian ambassador. And people would say, were you reporting back? AARON BANKS, BREXIT CAMPIAGN DONOR: Well, not really. We had had a
very pleasant lunch with him that lasted six hours, and of course he saw a picture of us on the golden doors of Trump's apartment, of course he got in touch because he seen us.
GRIFFIN: The first Trump event attended by Banks was August 24th, 2016, just five days after a lunch was scheduled at the Russian embassy, according to an e-mail viewed by CNN. Wigmore has denied the lunch happened, but it is one of dozens of communications, invitations, and discussions between Wigmore, Banks, and Russian embassy officials.
DAMIAN COLLINS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE, MP: There's nothing illegal with meeting with Russian diplomats or doing business deals in Russia, as long as you're not breaking any sanctions against Russia. There's nothing illegal in that. But I think we want to understand more about the nature of these meetings, the nature of his contact, you know, what was being discussed, and to what extent Aaron Banks profited from these relationship from the Russian embassy.
GRIFFIN: In testimony before an investigative committee in parliament Wednesday, Banks denied giving the Russians anything sensitive, but did admit to handing over one piece of information after that Trump tower meeting. How to get in touch with the President-Elect.
BANKS: The only thing we gave in the second meeting was the telephone numbers of the -- or telephone number of the transition team.
GRIFFIN: Banks, who also has a Russian wife, has been trying to deny reports and innuendo from British press and politicians that he is acting as a potential Russian agent. His story is confusing, because he admitted sometimes he lies, or allows his sidekick, Andy Wigmore to lie on his behalf.
ANDY WIGMORE, BREXIT CAMPAIGNER: I would be guilty of being provocative, agent provocateur, slight exaggerating in the message quite often, and I'm guilty of doing that, absolutely.
GRIFFIN: According to the pair, e-mail showing Aaron Banks in Moscow in February 2016 were a lie. E-mails showing a meeting request with a sanctioned Russian bank, not true. Banks does admit during one of his visits to the Russian embassy, he was offered involvement in a $3 billion deal to consolidate six Russian gold mines. CNN has learned the company was partially owned by Vladimir Putin's former deputy chief of staff. Banks said that deal never went through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever accept money from the Russian government?
GRIFFIN: Banks was combative during his testimony and finally after lengthy questioning, stood up and abruptly left the hearing. Banks and Wigmore say it should be no surprise to U.S. authorities they have ties to Russia, claiming they voluntarily turned the information over to U.S. officials. CNN has not been able to confirm that, there is also no evidence at least so far. Anyone in Donald Trump's campaign knew Aaron Banks and Andy Wigmore are two friends from Britain, were also lunch buddies with a Russian ambassador. (Inaudible) CNN London.
CHURCH: After the break, Britain recalls the deadly Grenfell tower fire, but one year after that tragedy, survivor are asking how their home became a symbol of death and neglect.
[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Britain is paying tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire one year on from that tragedy. The high-rise in west London is now cloaked in a shroud. It was lit up overnight to remember the 72 people who died there in the early hours of June 14th last year. The United Kingdom will hold a minute's silence in just a few hours.
A public inquiry is under way into the tragedy. Investigators and survivors have been asking hard questions about the response to Britain's deadliest domestic fire since the Second World War. And Prime Minister Theresa May is apologizing for her error in judgment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I didn't, of course on that first visit meet members of the community or survivors. And I'm sorry for not having met them then. I regret that, because I think people perhaps felt, they wanted those of us in power to know that we had understood and recognized what had happened. And perhaps felt that not meeting them immediately meant that I didn't care enough, and that was never the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And amid all the apologies and questions of the voices of the Grenfell survivors and the testimonies of bereaved friends and relatives. CNN's Nick Glass, brings us their stories.
NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In other circumstances, you probably wouldn't give it a second look. Just another London tower block, one among many. Under the white plastic sheeting is Grenfell tower. And Grenfell is the stuff of nightmares. The tragedy played out mercilessly in front of all our cameras. Strip away the shroud and as everyone knows this is still an incinerated concrete shell, a 24-story tombstone, the relic of a fire that should never, ever have happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mum and my sister were murdered and cremated on the 14th of June last year. To be more specific, my mum and sister were poisoned by the smoke, they were burned, they were cremated. I had to listen to them suffer and I had to listen to them die. I had to watch Grenfell Tower burn for a couple of days, but particularly the top floors. If that is not torture, then I'm not really sure what else is. GLASS: Ahmed stayed on the phone to his younger sister Maryam until
she fell silent and all he could hear was the crackle of flames. One year on and Grenfell remains a place of profound sadness. How could anyone forget what happened here? There's grief and dignity, and also simmering anger and an unquenchable desire for justice. The photos of the missing once plastered everywhere have begun to fade and fray, but not the memory of the night or the manner of their dying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I go pass, I look at the tower, I have flashbacks. I know they are just pictures in my head, but I can actually see people behind those windows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I honestly don't -- it looks to me like it's only the outside bit.
Oh, my god.
MARTIN MOORE-BICK, GRENFELL TOWER INQUIRY: In terms of loss of life, the fire was the single greatest tragedy to befall this city since the end of the Second World War.
[03:45:00] GLASS: The sight of the building engulfed in flame is indelibly imprinted on the memories of those who experienced an event of unimaginable horror.
Unimaginable horror, that is the truth of it, that the launch of the public inquiry, they stood in silent for a symbolic 72 seconds. 72 people died in the fire. Here was a room overflowing with the bereaved.
HISAM CHOUCAIR, WITNESS, GRENFELL TOWER INQUIRY: I have to live with my family ripped apart for the rest of my life. I don't see this as a tragedy. I see it as an atrocity.
GLASS: His solution care lost six relatives in the fire, his mother, sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces. For seven tearful days, the bereaved paid tribute to their loved ones. Some made commemorative videos.
This artist had just shown her work at the Venice Biennale. It made it all the more heartbreaking. So many children, so young, so vibrantly full of life.
MARCIO GOMES, FATHER OF LOGAN GOMES: He was so peaceful. So restful. He looked like he was just sleeping. As babies do.
GLASS: At the very top of the building on the 23rd floor, Rania Ibrahim was trapped with her two young girls. In perhaps the most haunting of all the footage from the night, she used her mobile phone to live stream on Facebook. First we hear a woman's voice shouting down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're stuck on the 25th floor! Hello! There's too many people stuck upstairs! Hello! GLASS: And then we hear Rania herself.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GLASS: None of them got out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't a time for vitriol and hatred. It's a time to come together and hold one another, to hold in embrace. Because we know we're going to go forward.
GLASS: The hope is for justice and a resolution of some kind. The inquiry has already heard about what experts have described as a litany of failures at Grenfell. Everything caught fire much faster than anyone could ever have imagined. Window frames, fire doors, and perhaps most disastrously of all, the exterior cladding installed just a few years ago.
The small fire evidently started in a fridge freezer on the fourth floor, swept up the building in just 19 minutes. The other issue involves the fire brigade. Their initial advice to residents was to stay put in their flats, believing the fire could be contained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not have peace until I have the truth. I want to know why I was physically stopped from leaving the flat at about 2:00 a.m. Why were we kept inside for so long? What was responsible for that decision? I want answer. If I had not listened to the fire brigade, my son would have been likely alive today.
GLASS: The London fire brigade has described Grenfell as the most challenging incident in living memory. They say that the firemen on the ground were wholly unaware of fire safety defects in the fabric of the building, and even early on, advice to residents to stay or leave involved substantial risk either way.
Grenfell tower will eventually be demolished, but never forgotten. Over 300 other British tower blocks are clad in similar material. The conclusions of the inquiry are keenly awaited. Grenfell will remain a synonym for the cruelest of human tragedies. We all watched helplessly on. How in this day and age could this happen? Why couldn't we save so many of those trapped on the upper floors? Nick Glass, CNN, at Grenfell tower in West London.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: The long wait is almost over for football fans across the globe. World cup 2018 begins in just a few hours from now. And as the opening act, two of the weakest teams, Saudi Arabia ranked 67th, and Russia ranked 70th, go toe to toe in Moscow's Muslim's ski stadium. Now, even if neither team is a favorite, fans will be excited to see the tournament finally get under way, of course. 64 matches will be played over the next month in a total of 12 stadiums. Many of them far from Moscow.
Getting to them requires modernizing 20 railway stations, expanding airports in 11 cities, and repairing 178 kilometers of roads. The estimated price tag between $13 and $14 billion. And for the first time in world cup history, officiating will get a big assist from technology. The video assistant refugee is intended -- referee I should say, is intended to correct bad calls on key plays that could affect the outcome of a match. But the innovation is controversial. Don Riddell of CNN world sport explains.
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems almost certain that VAR will be a talker at this World Cup. The newest technology to be used in football, video assistant referee has enjoyed mixed success so far in various leagues and competitions around the world. But FIFA has embraced it, and they are confident that it's going to work. They also think players will have less reason to challenge or intimidate the referees, and that should improve the image of the game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a matter of protecting the image of the game, and I think the referee surrounded by players who are screaming, shouting, this is something that cannot happen. So we were very clear with our referees, they know that they cannot accept this kind of behavior.
RIDDELL: In theory, VAR should eradicate referees' mistakes and hopefully some of the controversies which really have marred very big games at previous World Cup tournaments. They hopefully will not be repeated. That is, if everything goes according to plan. FIFA say the technology will correct, clear and obvious errors in four game- changing situations. Which are, goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identities.
Fans in the stadiums and those who are watching at home on TV will be able to see reviewed plays. And here's one thing we should notice right away. If an offside call is close, refs have been told to wave play on. Because they can always undo an offside goal with VAR, they can't make it happen if the game has already been stop unfairly, but just think of all the extra disappointment when more goals are ruled out, and of course, the additional time that is all going to take.
CHURCH: How about that?
All right, well, the opening ceremony kicks off in about six hours or so. Our Derek Van Dam, is here to tell us what the weather is going to look like.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know what. It's looking fantastic if you are in Moscow. Because, well, it should be about 17 degrees. Just in time for that, and the kickoff for the first game as well, Russia and Saudi Arabia taking place. But, you know, a lot of people know Russia for their cold winters, but not many people know that temperatures can soar as high as 34 degrees Celsius sometimes in Russia, especially on the most southern section of the country.
[03:55:14] On average for the months of June and July, temperatures for the 11 host cities and 12 various venues, range from 20 to 28 degrees Celsius. So pretty mild. That is why event organizers select these months, because they're typically the driest months in Russia's climatological year and also the warmest months of the year.
Not much going on. This is the satellite from Russia, but the vast expanse of this country is mind-boggling. And you can imagine the different weather scenarios that will impact the various stadiums. Of course one of the stadiums -- or two of the stadiums are separated by over 3,000 kilometers. And in terms of latitude, we have a nearly 2,500 kilometer separation between the north and most northern city and the most southern city. So, we are going to have vast differences in the temperature, we are going to have vast differences in the type of weather that impacts the region.
Of course, milder to the north, hotter to the south. And the further south you get in latitude that is where you start to experience drier conditions. For the most part, though, as we head to Moscow for our opening game today, we will stay dry in this open-air stadium. Temperatures in the upper teens. You can see the 11 other locations holding various games over the next month or so and conditions at the moment are dry across most, if not all of Russia. Maybe a few showers sneaking in by later in the weekend across southwestern sections of Russia.
Speaking of temperatures, though, we're going to keep things rather cool for the near term and then return into milder temperatures as we head into the first parts of next week and into the weekend as well. So the bottom line here is that people are going to want to probably plan on bringing sunscreen versus that rain coat, rain umbrella, because there's not much rain in the forecast.
CHURCH: That is always a good idea. Derek, thanks so much. I appreciate it, Derek.
And thanks so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues with Max Foster in London after this short break. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.