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President Trump's Victory on his Travel Ban; Secretary Mattis Visits Beijing for National Security Issues; Desperate Parents Waiting for Kids to be Rescued. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 27, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: -- go ahead from the U.S. Supreme Court. More on who is affected and international reaction to the ruling coming up.

Spain's stolen babies taken from their mothers and given to complete strangers. Years later, one doctor suspected of being involved goes on trial.

And the latest on the battle for Hodeidah in Yemen. The last-ditch effort to take back the valuable port city.

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

Donald Trump is taking a victory lap after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his travel ban, but protesters are denouncing the decision and the president's policies as xenophobic and racist. The high court ruling comes as the president is escalating his rhetoric and implementing hard-line policies against undocumented immigrants.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR White House CORRESPONDENT: To President Trump, it was supreme vindication.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A tremendous success, a tremendous victory for the American people and for our Constitution. This is a great victory for our Constitution.


ACOSTA: In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court upheld the president's travel ban on mostly Muslim majority countries. Writing for a conservative majority Chief Justice Robert said the ban is squarely within the scope of presidential authority.

But in a blistering dissent Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, "The majority here completely set aside the president's charge statement about Muslims as irrelevant. That holding erodes the foundational principles of religious tolerance that the court elsewhere has so emphatically protected, and tells members of minority members of minority religions in our country that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community."

That was in reference to Mr. Trump's original call for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. from the campaign.


TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.


ACOSTA: Taking a victory lap, Senate Majority Leader itch McConnell who blocked Barack Obama's pick of Merrick Garland of high court tweeted out a photo of Mr. Trump's justice Neil Gorsuch. The president's one word reaction in a tweet, "wow."


TRUMP: The ruling shows that all of the attacks from the media and the Democrat politicians are wrong and they turned out to be very wrong.

I want to thank Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his years of work to make this day very special.


ACOSTA: The president used the occasion to tout his hard line stance against migrants coming across the border. In influx the president said has prompted calls for thousands of new immigration judges. But that's false. There are no serious calls in Washington for thousands of judges.


TRUMP: They want us to choose 5,000 judges. Can you imagine the corruption? Go to the barber shop, grab somebody, make them a judge. Everybody is being made a judge.


ACOSTA: At a rally in South Carolina the president defended his administration's practice of jailing children who cross the border with their parents.


TRUMP: And what I learned is one thing. Our facilities are cleaner, better kept and better run. That's the one thing I learned, OK?


TRUMP: I saw them. But what we have is too extremes, and I liked it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: On the same day the White House was calling for civility, the president attacked late night talk show hosts.


TRUMP: Jimmy Fallon calls me up. He's like a nice guy. He's lost. He looks like a lost soul.


ACOSTA: And he mocked speculation about the first lady's more private schedule in recent weeks.


TRUMP: They said, she got a facelift. No. I would let you know. They couldn't die that one for long, right?


ACOSTA: While railing against the press, the White House has turned into conservative media outlets like Sinclair Broadcasting for sympathetic coverage.


BORIS EPSHTEYN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP: What if somebody knows about you that they're not seeing when you're sparring with the media or representing the president.

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Maybe I'm a little nicer than sometimes--

EPSHTEYN: I think you are very nice.

SANDERS: -- than everyone makes me out to be. Again, I'm a pretty, I think, happy person. I love life, and I'm a lot nicer I think than they make me out to be in the press.


ACOSTA: And CNN has learned the first lady is planning on visiting another immigration facility later this week. You'll recall she did that last week down on the border. No confirmation though this time of where exactly that visit will take place.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: The U.S. travel ban prevents entry from Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Iran, as well as by many government officials of Venezuela with some exceptions. It also bans visitors of any kind from North Korea and Syria. Exceptions include non-immigrant visitors from Yemen and Libya who are not on business or tourist visas. [03:04:56] Visitors from Iran on student or exchange visitor visas and

visitors from Somalia who pass additional scrutiny. Wavers may be granted to individuals based on a number of factors.

CNN senior international correspondent Sam Kiley joins us now from Istanbul. So, Sam, what has been the reaction across the region to this travel ban being upheld by the Supreme Court?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been a reaction principally from Iran. I'll come to that in a moment. But the main I think thing to take away from this, Rosemary, is that because of the strict visa -- the threat of very much stricter visa controls, the previous attempt at travel bans and so on, many people across the Middle East, across these five countries that have Muslim majorities were already of the mind that it was difficult or well now impossible to get visas to the United States anyway.

But from Iran's perspective, this is yet another insult, if you like, of the back of course the United States withdrawing from the agreement to swap or end sanctions in return for suspending the nuclear weapons program that Iran was pursuing.

The Iranians have issued a statement saying, among other things, and I'll read it to you, it says "No citizen of Iran has ever committed a terrorist attack in America and the notion that this is a national security-based decision is completely baseless."

Now, Iran, like Syria, is a nation that the United States and many of her allies says and officially designated as a state that sponsors terrorism internationally of course.

Whilst Iran may not have committed attack on American soil, it is certainly through its proxy been involved in terrorist attacks against Americans, elsewhere in the world, and similarly, of course, Syria as a state under Bashar al-Assad has also supported terrorist groups around the world and of course has a massive problem with refugees internationally.

But most of them are in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and have really got their minds if they are moving on focused on getting into Europe rather than the United States. Which, in any case, the very difficult place to get to before this visa ban, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Right. Our Sam Kiley bringing us reaction from the region from his vantage point there in Istanbul, Turkey, where it's just after 10 in the morning. We thank you.

Well, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will discuss immigration issues with the leaders of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He's on a Latin American swing that took him to Brazil on Tuesday. The vice president was scheduled to travel to Guatemala to visit victims of the Fuego volcano eruption. Details of the immigration meeting are still being worked out.

Well, federal judge in California is ordering a halt to most family separations at the U.S. border and the reunification of all families within 30 days. It's the first major rebuke of the Trump administration's controversial zero-tolerance policy on undocumented immigrants.

Separately, 18 states have filed suit arguing the policy violates the rights to due process and equal protection. President Trump, though, is not backing down from his tough talk on illegal immigration.


TRUMP: It's so simple. It's called, I'm sorry you can't come in. You have to go in through a legal process. You don't have to see a judge where the judge is going to take three years before you can come back.

In the meantime, you never come back because you're already in the country. You're someplace in the country, and that would be bad, but it's really bad when it's a criminal. And we have plenty of them coming into the country this way. And they use the children. They use these young children for their own benefit.


CHURCH: Twenty five people, including a number of clergy members, were arrested at an immigration protest in Los Angeles. They turned out ahead of a visit by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Well, Italy, Malta, France and Portugal have now agreed to take in migrants who have been stranded for days on the life line rescue ship in the Mediterranean. This comes after Malta said it would only let the ship dock if other nations helped out.

The NGO ship rescued more than 200 migrants on Thursday, but Italy and Malta initially refused to let them in. They say they are unfairly bearing the brunt of the migrant crisis. E.U. leaders held emergency talks Sunday to try to break a deadlock and they will hold more talks Thursday and Friday.

Well, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is in China. He is meeting with top military and government officials there amid increasingly strained relations between Washington and Beijing.

[03:10:04] But Mattis says he has come to China with an open mind, without pre-set expectations and wants to have a dialogue on security and strategy issues with his counterparts.

CNN's Will Ripley joins us now from Beijing with more on this. So, Will, what all is likely to come out of the Defense Secretary Mattis' strategy talks in China?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a really complicated situation, Rosemary. And I think the best case scenario would be as Secretary Mattis said, to gain a better understanding of the Chinese position, to convey the U.S. position on a number of different issues of contention as of late.

If you're looking at defense issues alone, there is the South China Sea. China keeps expanding beyond its borders. It's locked in territorial disputes with a lot of its smaller neighbors. It's built up these artificial aircraft carriers, that's what some military analysts call them in the South China Sea.

The U.S. is stepping up its freedom of navigation patrols sailing its war ships near these islands much to the chagrin of Beijing. China was disinvited from the rim PAC. Military exercises after letting a bomber on one of those islands.

Then you have the issue of the armed sales to Taiwan, United States opening up an office in Taiwan also angering Beijing which considers the island of renegade province that could be taken back by force at any time.

At the same time that all of this is bubbling, the United States still needs China's help with North Korea, with putting the pressure on Pyongyang. So, how do you convince China to play ball with North Korea when there are all these other things that are causing tension? Of course, the headline of the day, the trade war that continues to escalate as well, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Let's talk about that. How much is likely to be said about a trade war between the two countries?

RIPLEY: It's interesting because obviously Secretary Mattis is a general. He met with his counterpart also a Chinese general, Wei Fenghe. These are not economic experts. And yet what the United States and the Trump administration has been doing to justify the $50 billion in tariffs due to take effect next month, to justify this expected announcement within the coming days of a major restrictions on Chinese tech investment in the United States.

They're tying it all back to national security, saying that America's security could be in danger if this technology got into the hands of China, which is trying to become a global leader in robotics and aerospace and electric cars by 2025.

And so, they are having to kind of discuss trade and economic issues under the veil of national security, which complicates the situation even more on the ground here in Beijing. We do know that after he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping which is expected to happen in the coming hours, he has a couple of other meetings in the morning local time. Then he heads on to more friendly turf. He'll be heading to South Korea and Japan.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Will Ripley joining us live from Beijing and covering the defense secretary's visit there to China. Just getting near to 3.15 in the afternoon. We thank you again.

Well, a court in Sudan has commuted the death sentence of a teenager who says she killed her husband as he tried to rape her for a second time. But Noura Hussein's ordeal is far from over. As Nima Elbagir reports, her supporters say their fight isn't finished either.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For those who have been fighting and supporting Noura Hussein in her bid to escape the hang man's news in Sudan, this was the day that they prayed and hoped would come. Her charges have now been lowered to manslaughter and she has been sentenced by the appeals court to five years in jail in order to pay $18,000, the equivalent of $18,000 in compensation.

But the diya (Ph) blood money, as it is colloquially known in Sudan, may not feel like quite such a win because it still doesn't change the realities, not just for Noura, but for other young girls and women in Sudan which is that marital rape continues to be legal.

What Noura went through could still happen, is still happening to girls and women across Sudan, a country which has one of the lowest legal ages of consent in the world. Just 10 years old. So for those who have fought for Noura, they tell us this is just the beginning.

Not only will they push to repeal the sentence of five years handed down to Noura now, they are also going to keep fighting so that Noura's case is not the exception, so that the law changes, so that no other girl or woman in Sudan has to suffer what Noura has gone through.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

CHURCH: A Spanish doctor is currently standing trial and protesters descend on the court. He is accused of taking part in a sinister practice that began during the Franco dictatorship. Thousands of babies stolen. More on that this hour.

[03:14:54] Plus, heavy rain has flooded a cave in Thailand where 13 people are missing. It's thought they have been cut off. Navy divers have been sent in to look for the boys and their football coach.

Plus, Lionel Messi (TECHNICAL PROBLEM).

CHURCH: (TECHNICAL PROBLEM) Thailand in a cave still with tunnels and chambers. Some now are blocked by high water from recent heavy rain.

Our Anna Coren joins us now live from Hong Kong with more on this. Anna, what is the latest information that you have on efforts to find these 12 teenagers and their coach and what do authorities saying about what they think they'll find them alive?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, we got off the phone from our producer on the ground there in Chiang Rai. She's been speaking to the parents. She's also been witnessing the rituals that have been going on outside of this cave by the parents who have been waiting there in agonizing way ever since their sons disappeared on Saturday.

They've been doing this spirit ritual, offering food and flower to the spirits, chanting "come home to your mommy, come home to your daddy," and that is just something that is sounding out over and over and over again. Tears streaming down the faces of these parents desperate for a miracle, desperate for their children to walk out of this cave.

But as the days go by, Rosemary, it is more and more unlikely. Look, we've heard from the governor of Chiang Rai who believes that the children are still alive. He believes that they are in a chamber further into the caves that hasn't been affected by the flash flooding.

We have to remember this is monsoon season. The rain has been persistent. It has been raining on and off all day today. The helicopters and the drones that they were hoping to get out to do some of the thermal imaging to detect any heat as well as look at any air pockets along the caves, they were unable to do that today. They are solely relying on the divers. They've got divers working around the clock in shifts.

Navy SEALS, police divers, professional divers as well as trekking teams that are trekking into this very rugged terrain trying to look for any air pockets along these caves.

[03:20:02] Now, Rosemary, these caves stretch some eight kilometers long. And as you say, they have chambers, up to 40 chambers with narrow passage ways. And because of all this rain, they believe that there has been flash flooding inside those caves.

Now, for the divers who as we say are working around the clock in shifts, the water is extremely muddy. It is almost impossible to see in front of their faces so they are relying on air pockets being created, which means they are pumping out water 24 hours a day, trying to create those air pockets so that the drivers can lift their heads and then look as to where they are going, to try and locate these 13 people, these 12 teenage soccer players who had been at soccer practice on Saturday with their 25-year-old coach.

They decided to go to these caves to check them out, something that these local boys would often do. Their bikes, their back packs and their soccer gear was found outside the mouth of this cave, and that is obviously when the alarm was set off, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It is simply unbearable to think what those parents are going through as they wait to hear news on their boys and, of course, this coach. We will keep a very close eye on this and hopefully the thermal technology can be some sort of help in the effort to find these boys. Thank you so much, Anna Coren.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lead a brilliant ball from somebody! They've got their goal! Argentina--

CHURCH: Unbelievable. It was quite the dramatic finish for Argentina on Tuesday. They could afford nothing less than a win and in the 86th minute they got the goal they need.

And with more on the exciting finish on what's ahead in World Cup action, I'm joined now by CNN world sport anchor Patrick Snell. Wow, for Argentina.


CHURCH: I mean, what is it, four minutes before?

SNELL: Four minutes from going out of the World Cup. Two-time world champions, Lionel Messi. And what a response. Heart break for the Nigerians. So they will feel hard done by. This is recap the game, it really was very, very tense and exciting

especially for fans of the Argentine national team. I want to pay tribute, though, to first goal of the match Lionel Messi, a thing of beauty, the way he controlled it. The first touch. And then the sublime finish with his right foot, supposedly the weaker one, but I'm not so sure. That was a superb finish.

There's been so much criticism of him. That's Diego Maradona, of course he won the World Cup with Argentina back in 1986. But I don't think Nigeria read the script. Because it actually leveled through Victor Moses a penalty. And then we got this very tense nervy finish.

And it was Marcos Rojo, a defender who plays his club football for Manchester United, one of the less heralded members who we say of the team. It wasn't Messi or Higuain or Aguero who gets the winner. It's Marcos Rojo. What a moment for him.

It's actually Messi jumping on his back. Heart break for Nigeria. They were so, so close. Look at the emotion there of the players. Angel Di Maria it gets to them. They've been under intense pressure, criticized heavily by sections of the media back home and look at the fans here. He's so overcome, he doesn't know how to react.

It's absolutely incredible. And then we're going to see a fan now who just loses it. What does he do? He pours his drink over his own head. These are guys actually in the stadium, fans in the stadium to be Argentine capital Buenos Aires. Relief and a huge roar because they're expected to advance.

Now they're through to a round of 16. Anything in theory can happen. This is a squad I believe growing with confidence. It's going to be very, very interesting. They take on the French national team who won the World Cup 20 years ago.

CHURCH: Always great for the winners.


CHURCH: But the losers, there are always the losers. Poor old Peru, they're heading home. But their team and their fans left quite an impression.

SNELL: Against the Australian Socceroos. At least they weren't sorry to just mention that, but there you go. Yes, because Peru really captured the imagination of many, many people at this World Cup, especially their fans.

This is -- those Peruvian fans in full voice ahead of the game. And how can the national team not respond to this. Remember, Peru's first World Cup since the Spanish World Cup of 1982, 36 years ago.

And I tell you what, they responded superbly here against Australia who went disappointing on the day, Andre Carillo with the goal for the Peruvians.

And then it got back to near the end because their talisman. They're all timely to score up. Paolo Guerrero making it 2-nil in favor of the Peruvians. Why is this so significant? Why are fans like him so, so delighted?

Look at this. This is a group of school kids watching in Peru, absolutely delighting in the moment.

[03:25:00] This is history in the making because it's 40 years since Peru last won a match at the World Cup before this. That's why this is so significant. They'll be talking about that for a long time to come.

CHURCH: Absolutely. And finally, big day from Brazil and defending champs Germany.

SNELL: Yes. And a nervy one as well potentially for Germany and Brazil as well. Let's just actually set the scene with what to expect, and also, you know, the tournament is starting to take shape, Rosemary, as a whole.

We're down to the last 16. That's being formulated. We've already know that we're going to have France against Argentina. Croatia against Denmark. This might even mean that we could get France against Portugal in the quarterfinals. That will be a rematch of euro 2016 final won by the Portuguese. Or we might even get depending on how things pan out, Portugal against Argentina.

Of course that means certain Renaldo against a certain Messi. Key fixers will go ahead for today, Brazil taking on Serbia. Brazil looking to win the tournament for the 6th time. Basically the Brazilians need to avoid defeat in that one.

We mentioned Germany a little while ago. They take on South Korea. A comfortable win. If they can improve on what Sweden do in their game against Mexico, then Germany should be OK. But nothing can be taken for granted. It's that tense.

You know, you look at that four countries there. All four of them can in theory still advance. Even South Korea even though it's highly unlikely.

CHURCH: So one thing what learned from this World Cup, is you can't predict anything.

SNELL: No. Expect the unexpected at this World Cup.

CHURCH: Absolutely. So many upsets, so many surprises. Patrick Snell, always a pleasure. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Well, caught in the cross fire of Yemen's civil war, a main port city is under siege and there are fears a quarter million people could die. We will go to the front lines of that fight.

Plus, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Donald Trump's travel ban. What that could mean for his administration's policy and his fiery rhetoric toward immigrants. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to

update you now on the main stories we have been following this hour.

Donald Trump is claiming a tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution after the Supreme Court ruled five to four on Tuesday to uphold his travel ban. It restricts people from seven countries from entering the United States. Critics call it bigoted and xenophobic.

Sources tell CNN President Trump may meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin before the NATO summit next month.

[03:29:59] U.S. officials have proceeded as if that meeting would happen after the NATO talks in Brussels. Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton is in Moscow and the White House says is there to work out details for the potential Trump-Putin talk.

The women charged with murdering Kim Jong-un's estranged half-brother arrived in court in Malaysia. They are accused of robbing a chemical agent on Kim Jong-nam's face at the Kuala Lumpur airport last year. The women say they thought they were playing a prank for a TV show.

Back now to our top story, the highest court of the United States is siding with the Trump administration by upholding its controversial travel ban. The President once dismissed this particular ban as a watered down politically correct version of what he originally wanted. Now, during the campaign, this is what he said about who he wanted to ban. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.


CHURCH: Then in his first week in office, President Trump signed an executive order to temporarily ban entry from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Courts quickly blocked that ban. Then in March of last year, a second version was unveiled. This time Iraq was taken off the list. Courts blocked that version as well.

Now, the version upheld by the Supreme Court on Tuesday is the third version. This one removes Sudan from the list and added Chad, North Korea and Venezuela, though Chad was later removed. Now, we want to bring in David Leopold to talk more about all of this. He is an immigration attorney and former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: Now, even though this is the third version of what President Trump calls a water down politically correct travel ban, he is still spinning this as a win for his administration. What is your reaction first to the Supreme Court decision overall and Mr. Trump's response to it?

LEOPOLD: Well, you know, Rosemary, it's a shameful day, it is a disgraceful decision. It takes us back to some of the darkest days of the 20th century. You know, ironically in this decision they technically overruled the Korematsu decision which was the decision upholding the ability of the government to intern Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during World War II. And that was overruled today, but as Judge Sotomayor in the dissenting opinion said, really what you have done is traded one horrible decision for another. So, you know, the Supreme Court is supposed to be our guiding light toward liberty, toward the constitution, and today they failed the entire country.

CHURCH: And now the Supreme Court did want to make it clear and very clear at that that in upholding President Trump's travel ban that it was not endorsing past comments about Muslims made by Mr. Trump. I do want to just read what Chief Justice, John Roberts, said in his judgment. Plaintiffs argue that this President's word strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance in violation of our constitutional tradition, but the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the presidency itself.


CHURCH: So Justice Roberts is making clear that this decision is not a judgment on whether a President should talk or tweet the way Trump does, but a decision about whether Mr. Trump has the power to limit who comes into the country and the court believes the President does, indeed, have that power. So, what's your response to that particular judgment and the legal argument behind that?

LEOPOLD: Right. Well, the problem with that legal argument is that the significance of the statement which Judge Roberts, Justice Roberts said was important. These are very significant statements. These show an animus, a hatred towards Muslims and there is a pattern and practice to these statements. They go back, as you pointed out in the clip in the opening to the campaign days. And they were continued into the travel ban, the Muslim ban days in January of 2017, and then the President lamented after the first court struck down the first travel ban.

[03:35:01] He said, you know, I don't want to do it a politically correct way. We should just ban -- you know, he went back to the basics. So, he clearly showed an animus. It's not about denouncing that animus. I understand what Justice Roberts said, but what Justice Roberts missed was that the significance of the President of the United States, both as candidate and as leader, made statements of animus against Muslims. Those statements were ruthlessly transformed into policy. That is the problem. That is the issue that the court missed today. CHURCH: All right. So, this Supreme Court decision will impound Mr.

Trump. We've already seen that. What impact might this have going forward, do you think?

LEOPOLD: Well, look, obviously the Supreme Court lifted the stay that the 9th circuit court of appeals had put on the travel ban, the order blocking the travel ban last year. So immediately there won't be much of a difference, because it's already been in effect, but I think what it does is first of all, sends the wrong signal to the world. It tells the world that we are not a tolerant nation that we are willing to ban people, because of religion, because of what they believe.

That is the first time in the history of the country, but also significantly, you know, you've got Donald Trump claiming this amazing victory tonight. And what that tells him is that his bigotry and his disdain for discrete groups of people like Muslims, like Mexicans, like Latinos, women, for example, that that has value and that he can use that in his leadership. That is the danger with respect to this particular President. Very sad day, very dark day for the United States today.

CHURCH: David Leopold, thank you so much for joining us.

LEOPOLD: My pleasure. Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, the U.N. warns a quarter million people could die in the ongoing battle over a crucial port city in Yemen, Hodeida. A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iran backed Houthi rebels. The conflict threatens to cut off crucial aid and food supplies. And right now Hodeida's airport is the focus of the battle. CNN's Nick Payton Walsh has been following what's happening in Yemen for us. He joins us now live from London. So, Nick, what is the situation on the ground right now?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe. And of course, a nation strangely on the list of Donald Trump's travel ban, a place where Al Qaeda and ISIS have root, but really the most bitter and brutal war being fought in the Middle East at this particular point.

Hodeida, is the main port city. Both the coalition of the ousted Yemeni government and the Saudi Arabian Emirati militaries and the Houthi rebels who are they fighting, who are back by Iran, want to control that port, because it is vital for aid, vital for supplies. But the fair is as fighting progresses and a diplomatic moves right now as we speak to try and slow the fighting down as the fighting progresses, it risks cutting off vital aid that flows through that port. Here's what our cameras saw on the front line.


PATON WALSH: This is the race to the front of the least visible yet most vital war in the world now. The port down the road here is part of what could be the deadliest chapter yet in the battle for Yemen. Powerful gulf armies are trying to put the ousted Yemeni government back in power and defeat the rebel militia the Houthis backed by Iran. The airport down the road here, and the port city of Hodeida was the

latest prize. And the Houthis were kicked out just hours earlier and face a huge blow. If they lose Hodeida all together to this rag tag gulf back army. The biggest losers though remain ordinary Yemenis, 20 million relying on aid shipments that come mostly food at the Hodeida port and could be cut off as the fight intensifies.

There were previous warnings he said to civilians. And the clashes just on the outskirts of the city, so people can stay in their homes and remain safe. This war is part of Yemeni chaos and part high tech. The U.S. military has helped its gulf allies with fuel and intelligence for air strikes and top-end U.S. designed armored vehicles are driven by Emirati troops here. But the Pentagon, public backed out of the Hodeida fight, because so many civilians were at risk.

Regardless, this is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Killing a child under 5 needlessly every ten minutes, says the U.N.

[03:40:02] Amid the impish innocence is the fact food is a weapon of war, haunting every childhood. Houthi fled Hodeida with his family, two days ago.

I am a fisherman he says, we can't go and do our jobs. At any moment, a rocket or mortar can strike and our homes are made of simple material. Our escape from Hodeida should have taken two hours, but it took two days through the mountains and valleys because the direct road was full of mines.

Paula, led her family to safety but homelessness, five days ago. It's been three days, she says, without any sleep, because of the constant sound of explosions over the house. When the fighting stops, we'll go back, but that isn't close and even if Hodeida is a closing chapter, it is one which the U.N. has warned could kill 250,000 people.

Yet the numbers right here are smaller. One mother must prepare one meal in the dust with one tomato and nine mouths to feed. The tomato serve as a sauce to make the old bread appetizing before milk is added. Every mouthful here is a struggle. One that is barely seen by the world despite the huge powers and consequence involved. Every child on the line as the war rumbles through their lives.


PATON WALSH: The numbers given by the agencies real a beggar belief. If you had been watching since the break, about 10 minutes has elapsed. And in that period of time a child under the age of 5 has likely died from preventable causes say the United Nations. That is kind of startling frankly given the sheer amounts of cash involved in this war. The powers that are fighting over it, but it's because it's about the regional showdown between Saudi Arabia frankly with Iran. The stakes are so high, but there is no consolation for the Yemenis caught in the middle. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Shocking and harrowing scenes from Yemen, Nick Paton Walsh, joining us live from London with that report. Many thanks to you. Another royal first for Britain's Prince William is about to make his

second historic trip in as many days, and he is got a message for the Palestinian authority President from Israel. We'll have the details for you.

Plus, protesters in Spain are demanding justice as an 85-year-old doctor stands accused of taking newborns from birth mothers and selling them.


CHURCH: Prince William is the first British royal to make an official visit to Israel, and soon he will be the first British royal to officially visit the West Bank. He is got a message for Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas from the Israeli President. CNN's Max Foster is in Ramallah in the West Bank and joins us now live. Good to see you, Max. So, that is a lot of firsts for the future king of England, what's he likely to say himself when he meets with the Palestinian authority President, apart, of course, from carrying that message from Israel?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There was a, you know, a lot of commentary about, you know, the Israeli comments when he met Prince William. As you say, he asked him to bring a message of peace here to Ramallah. He also added to tell President Mahmoud Abbas that it's about time that he receive this message. That does put William in a difficult position simply because royals are meant to stay out of politics in the best of times, but particularly when they are the first royals, ever, U.K. royals, at least, to visit Ramallah where there are so many political religious sensitivities playing in, of course.

He did handle -- he used his words very carefully yesterday, when he was in Jerusalem, saying he would encourage peace, but he is not going to be carrying a message. He doesn't want to be seen as the messenger in any way in this Middle East set of tensions. So he is going to try and stay out of that. Obviously that is what we're looking at. We are looking at also to see, Rosemary, how President Abbas handles that as well. Whether he asks Prince William to take another message back to Jerusalem when he goes there.

Has lots of people here as well looking forward to see the President himself. We haven't seen him for three weeks since he left hospital. So it's a big moment all round here, so we'll be bringing it all to you, but there will be some cultural events as well, where Prince William wants to send the message this isn't just a VIP coming in and leaving straight away. He wants to spend time here, seen to be eating the foods and getting to know the people a bit as well, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It is a very difficult diplomatic job for Prince William, isn't it? To be putting that position in such a difficult part of the world where people have had problems finding peace, even those have got a lot of background in doing so. What has been the overall reaction to Prince William's historic visit to the Middle East so far?

FOSTER: Well, it's been interesting to see what the reaction is here. Because certainly wherever we were in Israel, the crowds were really intense and the media actually was really intense as well. There was a point on one engagement yesterday when Prince William had to ask the media to step back, because there were young children literally being surrounded and pushed as they tried to reach the Prince.

So, it will be interesting to see if there will be a different reaction here and whether or not crowds will come out at all. There is certainly not as much excitement here as there was in Israel. So we will see what the reception is like. Of course, there are, you know, the Arab leaders here who in the past have asked for an apology from the U.K. for its role in the creation of the State of Israel. He is certainly not going to be making an apology. But if he is presented with that sort of message, how is he going to handle it? A very, very big test for Prince William.

CHURCH: Yes. A big test, a delicate diplomatic operation. Max Foster covering all of that for us joining us live from Ramallah in the West Bank. Many thanks to you.

In Spain, an 85-year-old doctor has become the first person to go on trial over a national scandal, thousands of stolen babies. He is accuse of taking newborns from Spanish mothers and selling them. As Atika Shubert reports, it all began during the Franco dictatorship.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Spanish doctor Eduardo Vella listened in silence to the charges he faces in court. Accused of taking a baby girl from her mother in 1969 forging her birth certificate and giving her illegally to another woman. That baby was in Inez Madrigal and she watched as Dr. Vella now 85 denied all the charges. He said he has dementia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): Do you remember, what was the protocol to follow when a woman was admitted to the clinic to give birth?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I did not know anything apart from medical matters. I didn't know.

SHUBERT: CNN met Inez Madrigal in 2012. We interviewed her and her adoptive mother Inez Perez.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): She wasn't adopted. She was given to the President for taking care of a boy. They didn't give me flowers or money, they gave me a baby girl.

SHUBERT: She said Dr. Vella had given her daughter as a gift for her volunteer work at an orphanage and even advised her how to pad her belly with pillows to fake a pregnancy before coming to his clinic.

[03:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): Don't go to the hairdresser, no makeup. Put on a sad face and act like you feel nauseous. Look like you're in pain. The doctor told me to do all that. SHUBERT: She was also given this, a falsified birth certificate with

Dr. Vella's signature. When her adopted daughter turned 18, Inez Perez told her the truth. A DNA test proved they were not related. At the time, Inez Madrigal told us she was determined to convince prosecutors a crime had been committed.

INEZ MADRIGAL, ADOPTED AS A BABY (TRANSLATOR): I have to prove everything. Why don't they have to prove something? The prosecutors are closing their eyes to this.

SHUBERT: Inez Perez, passed away two years ago before she had a chance to see her daughter bring Dr. Vella to court. To this day she does not know who her biological mother is. In front of the court, Madrigal said she never questioned her relationship with the mother that raised her, even as the case against Dr. Vella progressed.

MADRIGAL (TRANSLATOR): No, never. It got better maybe. She was an elderly woman by then and she had no problem being charged by the Judge as an accessory to the crime. And until her last days she proved her strength. Always with her truth and was unbreakable. I only feel thankful towards her.

SHUBERT: In Spain there are thousands of so-called ninos robados or stolen children, illegal and forced adoptions that stretch back more than 70 years ago when the country was racked by civil war and then oppressed by Dictator Francisco Franco. Franco has a policy of taking the children of political prisoners and placing them in pro-government families. Prosecutors and lawyers say that laws back then allowed for no questions asked adoptions. Doctors were not required to put the name of biological mothers on birth certificates. Ostensibly to protect unwed mothers. And catholic institutions issued baptism certificates in lieu of birth certificates. That made it easier for illegal adoptions to flourish well into the 1990s.

Dr. Villa denies forging any birth certificates. This photo was taken in 1982 at his clinic by an investigative journalist. A frozen baby girl, umbilical cord still intact. Herman Gallego says, he said he took the photos after hearing rumors Dr. Villa was telling mothers their newborns had died then selling them for adoption. The nurses, he said explained how it work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): One nurse said, sometimes mothers want to see the baby's body, to see that it's dead. So she said, they keep one in the fridge. I said, no, I didn't believe it.

SHUBERT: And what about those babies that were born here? Madrigal is the first to bring Dr. Villa to court. She hopes her case will help others to find if not justice, at least the truth. Atika Shubert, CNN.


CHURCH: Incredible story there. You are watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta.

A touching moment at the White House on Tuesday on the other side of this short break. We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. President Trump's press secretary will receive secret service protection. Two sources said it could happen as soon as Wednesday, but they didn't say how long it would last. The move comes days after Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia, because she worked for the Trump administration. Other Trump officials have been heckled, sparking a debate over civility in American politics.

[03:55:11] And on a lighter note, there were some touching moments at the White House on Tuesday literally. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not since his now sizzle bromance with the French President. And we've seen such a public display of affection from President Trump. There was hugging and puckering and patting as the 89-year-old Pauline Connor was handed the medal of honor awarded to her late husband. First Lieutenant Garland Merl Connor (ph) was celebrated for risking his life advancing beyond the front lines to direct American artillery fire during World War II.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm emotional. Please forgive me.

MOOS: The President joked about the Connors' long marriage.

TRUMP: 53 years of an incredibly great marriage. Was it good or great, Pauline? It was great, that is good, boy, I'm glad she said that. We might have had to cancel the rest. That would have been terrible.

MOOS: When it was time to take her place on stage, it was the President who steadied Pauline who seemed to get along famously.

TRUMP: She voted for Trump.

MOOS: And just like French President Macron --

TRUMP: I like him a lot.

MOOS: This widow from Kentucky won the Presidential seal of approval. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And finally, art experts are losing it over the botched restoration of a 16th century work of art in Spain. Even amateurs can see what a disaster this is. These are before and after images of Saint George, a wooden statue that was showing its age. Well, the town's mayor says the church hired unqualified workers to restore it. He says they desecrated it. It's not the first time a do-gooder tried to fix precious art. You would remember of course, this so called restoration of a century-old fresco of Jesus. After an old parishioner got her hands on it in 2012. People started calling it monkey Jesus.

Well, thanks so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. News continues now with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.