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U.K. Couple Exposed to Deadly Soviet-Era Chemical Weapon; Monsoon Rains Threaten Thai Cave Rescue Effort; Pompeo Returns to Pyongyang; Concerns about Trump's Deference to Putin; Two Britons Were Exposed to Nerve Agent That Sickened Ex-Spy, Britain Says; Anti- Government Opposition Loud And Angry; German Chancellor Warns Against Trade War With U.S.; Indian Govt. Warns WhatsApp Over Hoax Messages. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 5, 2018 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): First, it was a former Russian spy and his daughter. Now authorities in the U.K. are baffled by the nerve agent poisoning of a British couple.

Plus they are alive and appear well but trapped in a cave and rescuers are still trying to figure out how to get these young boys out.

And in Poland, the head of the supreme court says no to a law that forces her to retire at 65 and thousands turn out on the streets of Warsaw to support her.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


CHURCH: The U.K. government has called an emergency cabinet meeting and an entire town in England is on edge at this hour. Police say deadly nerve agent that almost killed a former Russian spy and his daughter has now left two people in critical condition.

Tests revealed shocking results.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Following the detailed analysis of those samples, we can confirm that the man and woman has been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal.

The latest update we have from the hospital is that both patients remain in a critical condition. Both are British nationals and are local to the area. Officers are still working to identify their next of kin.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Joining us now is CNN's Erin McLaughlin, who is in Amesbury, England.

Erin, what more are investigators learning about this incident involving this nerve agent, Novichok, and do they have any idea how this couple came into contact with it?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is the key question, Rosemary. We know that Novichok has been confirmed to be the nerve agent behind the illness of this couple.

What we do not know, according to authorities, is whether or not it's from the same batch that was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, some four months ago. Authorities still working to figure out that very critical detail, that would tie the two incidents together.

Authorities have now cordoned off some five locations here in Amesbury, as well as in Salisbury, which is about nine miles away from here, including a park, which is believed the couple visited the Friday evening before they fell ill.

Authorities say, though the pair did not visit any sites that had been previously decontaminated. It leaves open the possibility that the authorities simply missed in the Skripal investigation. They say they do not believe the couple was targeted in any way at this point.

So how did this local British couple come across Novichok and fall seriously ill?

CHURCH: That is exactly what has so many people on edge right now.

What more do we know about the condition of these two people and their prognosis?

MCLAUGHLIN: They're currently, according to authorities, in critical condition. The timeline is really important, some 100 or so investigators working on establishing the timeline.

We know they spent time in Salisbury with a friend on the Friday evening, at a park there that has now since been cornered over. Dawn Sturgess first fell ill at about 10:15 on Saturday morning. That is when an ambulance was called of the help her take her to the hospital.

At that point, that is when Charley Rowley and a friend, Sam Hobson, went to a hog roast at a nearby Baptist church. They also went to a local pharmacy. It wasn't until 3:30 in the afternoon that Charley Rowley fell ill.

His friend, Sam Hobson, described what happened to him. Take a listen.


SAM HOBSON, CHARLEY ROWLEY'S FRIEND: He was sweating and lips dribbling (ph) and he couldn't speak to me. He was making funny noises and he was rocking backwards and forwards. And there was no response (INAUDIBLE). He didn't know I was there. It was like he was in another world, hallucinating.


MCLAUGHLIN: People here are extremely concerned. Authorities are saying that the risk to the public at this point remains low. They are urging anyone who visited the five sites that have now been cordoned off, to simply wash their clothes.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Erin McLaughlin, bringing us up to date on this incident --


CHURCH: -- from Amesbury, England. Thank you so much for that.

So let's talk to CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer, he's a CIA former operative.

Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: Bob, all we know is that the man and woman found unconscious Saturday in Amesbury, England, were exposed to the same military grade nerve agent used to poison former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, back in March in a nearby town.

What do you make of all this and how do you think they came in contact with Novichok?

BAER: Well, first of all, Rosemary, I doubt that they were targeted. I think it's very clear at this point, that the Russian government, the KGB went after Skripal, considered him a traitor.

These people, as far as we know so far, are completely innocent of any intelligence connections. So probably what's happened is they accidently came across either a container that carried Novichok or a place that was prepared.

I think the Novichok used against Skripal was a binary agent that had to be mixed somewhere. Was it a hotel room? Was it left over in a car? It's very hard to tell at this point because it only takes 13 grams of Novichok to kill somebody and that's not very much.

So just a small exposure, either the skin or ingested it, breathed it or swallowed it, is enough to make these people sick. Now once they recover it, and I hope they do, they'll be able to tell people, tell police where they were possibly exposed.

And this, by the way, may break open the case because if it was a hotel room, you can find out who stayed in that hotel room and possibly trace them. CHURCH: So you don't think they were targeted. The couple has been identified as Charley Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, both British nationals in their 40s. Both in critical condition right now.

Would you expect then, given you don't think they were targeted, that this was just an isolated incident?

The problem is, if as you say -- is it possible that other areas have been contaminated and that other people could possibly be affected?

BAER: Oh, absolutely. The half life on Novichok is fairly long. If it's been exposed to rain or water it will dissipate; it will no longer be lethal.

But if it's been stored somewhere, are there more containers of it?

I mean, look, this was a very sloppy assassination attempt. The people who carried it out, seemingly didn't care who they killed in the course of it.


CHURCH: Did you think Russia was involved or do you think this is possibly a former spy gone rogue?

Do you think this is -- that Russia's behind this?

BAER: Oh, I think absolutely, the Russians are behind it. It's a very complicated nerve agent. As I said, you have to mix it, you have to know what you're doing.

You hear some people, some Russians say, well, maybe Russian spies are framing Vladimir Putin. But that's way too complicated for a conspiracy. I think the fact is they went after Skripal because they wanted to send a message. Anyone that betrays Vladimir Putin, they're going to come after him, wherever he is and they don't care whatever means they have to -- it was a political message.

So I think -- and, Rosemary, the Russians are not cooperating on this. They're not opening their laboratories to let us examine this nerve agent, which would tell us a lot. So they're dragging their feet. Now it's implausible that this attack on Skripal was carried out by some rogue element. It just makes no sense. Too complicated.

CHURCH: Right. And then you got to look at motive, what would the reason be if that was the case.

What would your advice be to British authorities investigating what they're now calling a major incident?

BAER: Well, they're going to -- their first obvious step is to administer antidotes to these people and they can probably be saved. Whether it does permanent damage or not, we're going to wait to see.

But the real question is, is the West, is Donald Trump ready to put pressure on Vladimir Putin to come clean on Skripal and now these two innocent people?

He's going to go to Helsinki. And if Vladimir Putin says, I didn't do it and he accepts that without any explanation, it's going to scare a lot of people in Europe, because this was an attack with a nerve agent, the first one against a member in NATO. And --


BAER: -- there has to be some response. You just cannot let this pass, especially now that this nerve agent -- who knows where it is, where it was spread around Britain. It's just quite amazing --

CHURCH: It is.

BAER: -- that the United States hasn't done more.

CHURCH: Yes, it is a major concern. As you say, we'll be watching to see what does come out of that Trump-Putin summer in mid-July. Bob Baer, thank you so much. We appreciate you and your analysis always.

BAER: Thank you.

CHURCH: Heavy rains in the forecast could threaten rescue efforts for a dozen boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cage in Thailand. If they're not brought out soon, the boys could spend months underground until the monsoon season passes.

Crews are searching the hills above the cave for air vents that could lead directly to the boys. Rescuers say bringing them up through such chimneys would be safer than having them dive their way out through the network of flooded narrow passageways.

CNN's David McKenzie is live in Northern Thailand. He joins us now.

David, the weather conditions control everything now, with the rescuers desperately trying to find these air vents so they could get the boys out before more heavy rains come.

How do they go about finding these vents, how do you do that?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, I just want to show you, this is the Royal Thai Navy that is leaving the area. What really struck me was the technical nature of their gear. This kind of diving requires multiple tanks, often nitrox, which is a mix of more oxygen than it is carbon dioxide.

And they had carabiners, flashlights, breakable, sort of flashbangs almost. This is incredibly difficult for the professionals, before an Australian team moving in there just moments ago.

It will take them some five hours to get to those boys who have been stuck there for more than 12 days as professionals. So imagine how difficult it is, the prospect of bringing them out, many of them who can't swim, with full-face masks, feeling their way through that dank and zero visibility water in tight spaces. Just since I've arrived here, that's what struck me, is the difficulty

of this operation and the hope that people had, that many of Thailand's citizens called a miracle to find them alive and in pretty good spirits, has now turned to just how difficult this rescue operation will be.

CHURCH: David, exactly right. And you mentioned this possibility, this option of the boys coming out with the oxygen masks. It's interesting though, a lot of experts seem to be backing away from that diving option.

Let's just go back to the search for these air vents, because I'd be interested to hear how they actually go about that. Now that seems to be the option they would prefer, to bring the boys out from some sort of air vent that they can find there.

How do they do that?

MCKENZIE: I think they'd prefer it. But let's walk together, Rosemary. They prefer that option, sure. But they have to find the vents. They are still trying to map exactly where their boys are in that space relative to the surface area; 20 to 30 teams are up in those mountains behind me, searching for air vents.

Any kind of possibility of an opening that they can drill open and send ropes down and pull the boys out. So yes, you're right, they'd much rather do it in that way. But the difficulty here is twofold. One, they might not find an air vent that reaches those boys and they won't be able to drill safely.

And two, the rains are coming. In a few days, we expect, according to meteorologists, heavy rains, possibly the start of the monsoon in earnest. They're pushing out or sucking out nearly 2 million liters per hour from three pumps, trying to release the level of the water in that cave system.

But they may not be able to do it fast enough if more floodwaters come in. Then they will have to make that difficult decision to just rush the boys out by any means necessary.

But there will be no rushing because it's incredibly difficult just to do this operation even in the best circumstances. Professionals that have trained for years and years and years, hundreds of hours of diving experience, find this difficult.

For young boys, it's extremely difficult and it's worth remembering, those 12 young boys and their coach have been stuck in this dark chamber for all of this time, knowing the world is camped out here and watching across the globe to see if they'll come out.

But at this stage, they don't have a plan in place that they are comfortable with to start that rescue --Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, they've got a number of options they're working on simultaneously. Of course, these boys having an opportunity to test the waters there, to actually put on -- [02:15:00]

CHURCH: -- these masks, see how they respond to that. But it is a harrowing experience for anyone who doesn't have swimming experience. So we will continue to watch this very closely. David McKenzie there in Northern Thailand. Thank you so much for that.

Military planners are looking at a number of options for bringing the boys to the surface; none of them is ideal, as we've just discussed. But rescuers say, safety is more important than speed. CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bringing these boys out with scuba gear may yet be the best bet. But it's not very attractive to rescuers because there's so much danger involved. And if we bring in the mountain, we can see why.

Based on the latest numbers, they are believed to be about 2.5 miles in from the entrance to this cave, more than a half-mile down. And even though we don't have specific diagrams of the interior, using a hypothetical cross-section, we can show you what the real problem is here.

Some areas have become flooded with water, so much so that there's no way to go in or out without passing through them. How many there are, we don't know. How big they are, we don't know, maybe as big as a house, maybe as big as a tennis court or bigger.

But this we have been told. Some of the divers who have come out say, in some places, the passageway is only as big as a single human being. So imagine trying to go through there, hauling someone else behind you underwater with very limited visibility, strong currents and cold.

And doing all that for an indeterminate distance underwater. They're very worried about panic, the idea that somebody could not only hurt themselves but maybe the rescuer, too.

So what are the other options?

Could they drill into where they are, like they did in Chile back in 2010?

Sure. You could start drilling in through the ground and try to reach them and bring them up to the sunshine safely. But that could take a long time. In Chile, it took more than two months.

And bear in mind, what we showed you a moment ago had nothing to do with the real scale. If you want a sense of how deep in the ground these boys are, think about this, if you were sitting with them right now, to get up to the surface, you'd have to travel the height of two Empire State buildings.

That's why this is so hard. That's why they keep looking for some other possible natural route to get down to these boys, some undiscovered path. They haven't found it yet but they're still looking.


CHURCH: Tom Foreman with that report.

The U.S. secretary of state heads to North Korea again. The pressure is on for Mike Pompeo to come back with some clear plans for Pyongyang's denuclearization.

Plus, the concerns Western diplomats have about President Trump's upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin.





CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

The U.S. secretary of state is making his third trip to North Korea to press for details on how the country plans to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. His visit comes as U.S. intelligence officials cast doubt on Kim Jong-un's true intentions.

Our Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea. She joins us now live.

Good to see you, Paula. So in the wake of U.S. intelligence reports, revealing Kim Jong-un is not serious about dismantling his nuclear program, the pressure's mounting on Secretary Pompeo to come up with some results.

What's expected to come out of his meeting with Kim?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, CNN Washington has been hearing from sources that the secretary understands that there's a need to bring concrete plans back from this meeting, of how exactly this denuclearization is going to look.

We heard from an intelligence source last week, telling CNN they believe there was going to be a time when they were going to present the North Koreans a list of tasks that they have to carry out in order to push this process forward. So it's likely that could come from Secretary Pompeo.

We know a letter was handed over as well, according to a source familiar with U.S.-North Koreans relations, on Sunday, when a U.S. delegation met a North Korean delegation at the DMZ.

So potentially, we could see something more of a concrete plan as to how exactly the North Koreans are going to be pushing forward with this denuclearization, because, certainly, there have been a lot of concerns among observers of North Korea, the fact that the agreement signed in Singapore was fairly vague, just talking about working towards the complete denuclearization at the Korean Peninsula.

The fact that the word, "verification," appears to have been dropped, so certainly there is more pressure on the secretary of state this time around. It's his third trip to Pyongyang. He will be meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to the Trump administration.

So there's certainly an expectation that he will come back with something a little more concrete.

CHURCH: Right. In the meantime, South Korean basketball teams are playing two more friendly games with their northern neighbor in the latest sports exchange.

What impact does that have on warming relations between the two Koreans?

HANCOCKS: Yes, they've had two days now of these basketball games. It's part of the outreach between North and South Korea, improving relations between the two, despite what's happening with Washington and Pyongyang.

This is really a separate track that the South Koreans are pushing to try and improve their relations. They're also having talks on how to improve infrastructure between the two countries, forestry, roads, railways.

What we're seeing as well is we just had a pool report from North Korean on what exactly the unification minister from South Korea, who went along with this trip, was saying.

He said he'd been told by President Moon that it was important, if he met Kim Jong-un, which he didn't, that he was supposed to deliver a message that they really wanted to press forward with the specifics of denuclearization.

CHURCH: All right. Our Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul, South Korea. Many thanks.

It seems Donald Trump heads to next week's NATO summit ready for a confrontation with America's allies after sending scathing letters demanding they increase their defense budgets.

At the same time, he's been making nice with Vladimir Putin. The two leaders will meet right after the NATO talks and U.S. allies fear Mr. Trump will go out of his way to impress the Russian president. CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost as if he's Vladimir Putin's lawyer, defending him before a jury, President Trump again recites the Russian president's talking points, tweeting, "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our election," something the president also said last fall after meeting Putin face-to-face. TRUMP: I believe that President Putin really feels and he feels strongly that he did not meddle in our election.

TODD (voice-over): That despite the president's own intelligence agencies and a new bipartisan Senate report, which said Putin wanted Trump to win in 2016 and did meddle. Trump's own national security advisers, H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, have both acknowledged Russian meddling, Bolton calling it, quote, "an act of war."

Why does the president repeatedly gloss over Putin's meddling?

Analysts say one reason is his insecurity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Trump, this goes against the very legitimacy of his election.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants to be able to say I won this election square and fair, I defeated Hillary Clinton and nobody helped me. I did it myself.

TODD (voice-over): But the president repeatedly, unapologetically, takes Vladimir Putin's side on several fronts, repeatedly he told G7 leaders in Canada that Crimea, the part of Ukraine that Russia invaded and annexed, is Russian because everybody who lives there speaks Russian.

It's similar to what he said once to ABC.

TRUMP: The people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.

TODD (voice-over): Russia was kicked out of the G8 after invading Crimea in 2014. But Trump says Putin should be back in the alliance.

TRUMP: Russia should be in this meeting, why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?

TODD (voice-over): Analysts believe another reason Trump keeps taking Putin's side is the lingering possibility that Putin may have some kind of leverage over Trump, so-called kompromat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It goes anything from untoward behavior in front of video cameras in Russian hotels, to stuff that is perhaps a little less interesting to most folks, which is financial impropriety with Russians and representatives of Putin in the past.

TODD (voice-over): Trump has always refuted those implications.

TRUMP: No puppet, no puppet.


TRUMP: You're the puppet. TODD (voice-over): And this spring, the president's team closed a Russian consulate and expelled Russian diplomats after the Russians were accused of poisoning a former Russian spy in Britain.

TRUMP: And probably nobody's been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump.

TODD (voice-over): But experts say Trump delivers a victory to Putin every time he says something like, quote, "NATO is as bad as NAFTA," which a diplomat says he told G7 leaders behind closed doors last month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is basically handing him a gift that Putin has long sought. In fact, this was a goal of the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, divide the United States and Europe. We never thought a U.S. president would be the one to carry this out.

TODD: Analysts are worried about the long-term implications that Trump's leniency toward Putin is going to have. They say it could send signals to the Russian president that he can meddle in elections in America and elsewhere or that he could take aggressive action against other countries and that America won't stand in the way.

Signals that are very dangerous when it comes to Vladimir Putin -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Still to come, a crucial legal step in the U.S. immigration crisis, the good news for some of the families who were separated at the southern border.

And the top judge in Poland joined the growing anti-government protest simply by showing up for work. We'll explain.


[02:30:08] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour. Rescue crews in Thailand are looking for so-called chimneys above the caves where a youth football team is trapped for the 12th-straight day. They say it would be safer to bring the boys up through those vents than to have them dive through the flooded cave.

At least 34 people are now confirmed dead in a ferry sinking in Indonesia. A government spokesman says the captain deliberately crashed the fiery in shallow waters Tuesday to try to save lives. Rescuers were hampered by bad weather. State media report the fiery had a leak causing it to take on water.

Investigators do not suspect foul play in the death of a top Chinese businessman in France. Police say Wang Jian, the chairman of HNA Group fell from a wall while posing for a photo on Tuesday. HNA is a conglomerate with the stake in a number of international companies. Well, police in the United Kingdom say two people found unconscious

were exposed to the same military grade nerve agent that almost killed a former Russian spy and his daughter back in March. All were poisoned by the Soviet-era chemical Novichok. The couple are in critical condition. They recently visited to town where the first exposure took place. Now, the nerve agent Novichok is considered one of the deadliest chemical weapons ever made. It's more dangerous and sophisticated than the better known poison Sarin. The Soviet Union developed Novichok secretly during the Cold War in the 1980s to counter U.S. chemical weapon defenses. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless making it easier to take undetected through airports, seaports, and even a mail. Well, CNN's Matthew Chance joins us now from Moscow. Matthew, what has been the reaction in Russia to this latest nerve agent poisoning in Britain? And the link being made to the March attack on former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, to be honest, Rosemary, we haven't had any official reaction yet, but Russia today which is a Russian-state television channel which is often used to carry messages abroad and it's propaganda abroad has put (INAUDIBLE) website, "An analyst saying, that this is just what the United Kingdom which is hell bent on vilifying Russia wanted." So I think this's an indication of the kind of reaction we can expect in the hours ahead when Russian officials finally engage with this and give us their points of view. This is just as they characterized the poisoning of the Skripals back in March, an attempt by Britain to divert attention for instance from its Brexit debate or from other issues in the country and to make Russia look bad.

And indeed, there were a whole load of wild conspiracy theories that were spun by Russian officials as well as the Russian-state media to explain the poisoning back in March of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. And I expect we're going to see, you know, some reconstitution of those conspiracy theories this time. The timing of course is extremely significant. And that's already been picked up on social media as well, the fact that Russia is hosting this very successful World Cup football championship. This is further grist for the mill for the conspiracy theorist out there that this is a diversionary tactic meant to discredit Russia. There's no sense at all that Russia could be taking responsibility for this.

CHURCH: Right. And Matthew, however much Moscow denies any involvement, most people appear to believe that Russia was behind the attack on the Skripals, so what impact might all this have on the upcoming NATO meeting and of course on the July 16th summit meeting between President Trump and Putin in Helsinki?

CHANCE: Well, it's interesting isn't it? And it's going to make both of those meetings much more difficult and complicated. And let's not forget as well that President Trump after he goes to the NATO Summit on the 11th and the 12th of July, he'll be paying a state visit to Britain where he'll be meeting there British officials including Theresa May, the British Prime Minister who will undoubtedly brief the U.S. president on their latest findings and the latest developments in this case before he heads to Helsinki on the 16th of July for this one on one summit with President Putin at which President Trump hopes he can find some common ground and draw a line under the difficult relationship that Moscow has had with Washington has had with Moscow over the past couple of years.

[02:35:05] That's going to be much more complicated. Neither is this potent reminder that submerged in the -- in the -- in events of Russia's activities, Russia's malign activities that have been characterized in the United States. It's going to be much harder to find a compromise with Russia now that this Novichok poisoning issue is out in the public domain once again.

CHURCH: Yes. Good point. Matthew Chance joining us live from Moscow. It is 9:35 in the morning. Many thanks. Well, thousands of tourists have to be turned away on Independence Day when a protest shut down New York's Liberty Island. A small group of people were protesting immigration policy when one of them climbed the base of the Statute of Liberty. She stayed up there for nearly three hours until officers with ropes and a harness brought her down and took her into custody. At least seven others protesters were arrested as well. Well, some encouraging news for people at the center of those protests. A few families who were separated at the border are now one step closer to getting their children back. But as Miguel Marquez reports, they still have a very long way to go.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So for the first time since a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reunify families that have been separated at the border, we have some indication that in large numbers those families maybe reunified soon. An immigration lawyer here in the Rio Grande Valley says that nine of her clients have now been granted bond. This is the first step towards the long process of getting their children back. These are clients who had been previously denied bond. This is also a lawyer who represents some 210 families that are separated. She, her law firm and other volunteer lawyers that work with her. It is -- it is a legal step, but it is a huge step for them because they were able to pass there what they call their asylum credible fear test which means they have a credible reason to be seeking asylum in the U.S. That's been judged by ICE. And ICE officials on the Fourth of July working, approving those bonds for those individuals. Here's how the lawyer says one of her clients reacted when she heard the news.


MARQUEZ: When you told your clients you have bond, what was the response?

JODI GOODWIN, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: One of them fell down on her knees and just cried. She couldn't believe it.

MARQUEZ: And who is her child or children?

GOODWIN: She has a son that is 15 years old and he's in New York.

MARQUEZ: So they're going to have -- the -- for this people after all of this, the journey has really just begun? GOODWIN: Right. But for them this is a major bright spot to be able to know that not only did they finally pass their credible fear interviews, but, now, they've been given the opportunity to be able to pay a bond to be released from detention.


MARQUEZ: Now, keep in mind, this is one step of many. They have to make bond. These are nine individuals who are in detention here in South Texas. They're kids. Some of them have one. Some of them have several kids. They are scattered across the United States. These individuals have to make bond first anywhere between $1500 and $2500. Not a huge amount of money but an enormous amount of money for them. They then have to get out of detention. They have to figure out where they're kids are and work with Health and Human Services then that is taking care of their kids to get verified and get their kids back, and then get to the place where they can actually be reunited. All of this could take weeks. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Harlingen, Texas.

CHURCH: On another front, we are learning that President Trump raised the possibility of invading Venezuela last year while senior aid spoke out against it, Mr. Trump also pressed the idea with several Latin American leaders. One administration official says the president was only thinking out loud. After that news came out on Wednesday, Venezuela's president quickly responded, Nicolas Maduro said his country will defend its right to peace and told the armed forces to not lower their guard. Well, coming up, the head of Poland's Supreme Court defies the government and joins the protesters by refusing to quit and showing up for work. Fake news can have deadly consequences in India, that's why WhatsApp is cracking down on rumors being spread on its messaging service. A report from New Delhi a little later.


[02:42:18] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, Poland's most senior judge joined angry protesters with her own show defiance. She turned up for work. Under a new law, judges over 65 are required to retire and that includes the head of Poland's Supreme Court. More than a third of these 72 judges would have to leave. Demonstrators have been out in force in major cities for days now. They claim the new law is an attempt by the government to consolidate power. The controversial law is just the latest in the series of moves that have seen those in power isolated from the E.U. Atika Shubert has more now on that from Warsaw.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An evening mass at Warsaw Cathedral in February of this year attended by the most powerful man in Poland. Jaroslaw Kaczynski barely visible behind his bodyguards is dubbed the king of Poland for his undisputed control of the ruling Law and Justice Party. This is Kaczynski's vision for Poland, fiercely patriotic, deeply Catholic, driven by revenge. But to understand Jaroslaw Kaczynski, you must understand the influence of his identical twin, Lech Kaczynski.

MICHAL KRZYMOWSKI, KACZYNSKI BIOGRAPHER: He always repeated that Lech was a better twin. He was made for honors and I'm the bad guy.

SHUBERT: Child film stars, Jaroslaw Kaczynski grew up to become Prime Minister and President. In the book, Krzymowski describes Lech as popular. Jaroslaw as driven and ambitious, a wreck loose with no mobile phone who never uses a computer and eats lunch alone. He interviewed more than a hundred of his close friends and associates, but Kaczynski himself declined to be interviewed. This changed everything. In 2010, President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 96 people in all were killed when their plane crashed in Smolensk, Russia. Kaczynski immediately called the crash an assassination by Russia, an accusation the country denied.

An independent investigation determined the crash was a result of bad weather and human error. Since the Smolensk's crash, Kaczynski Law and Justice Party has a new patriotic zeal. It has since overhauled the constitutional court replacing independent judges with handpicked favorites. State broadcasters have in fact were failing to report the party line. His party has passed new laws threatening jail time for women seeking an abortion. It's all been worrying enough for the E.U. to issue a warning. Stop interfering with the rule of law or risk losing voting rights in the E.U.

MICHAL KAMINSKI, UNION OF EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: If you will ask me to me describe to the international public who Kaczynski is, I would say that he is a kind of a Trump without a strong American institutions.


SHUBERT: In 2015, Kaczynski's party won 37 percent of the vote in consolidated power in a coalition government. But, he refused to run for top office, choosing instead, to direct from behind the scenes.

He told his party congress, "Our goal is to rebuild, revitalized Poland's intelligence, link to an ethos of social services, of patriotism at in large part, to the Catholic Church."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Older people or the important people are obedient to him. Prime minister, ministers, and judges.

SHUBERT: Are people afraid of him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, very, very much.

SHUBERT: His party deputy, refutes that.

"I think he has shown that he is the most able politician in Poland." He says, "I am, of course, the vice president of the party. So, they can't really say anything else that's a joke, of course. Everyone acknowledges and respects Mr. Kaczynski's decision, it is impossible to undermine his authority.

After the Memorial mass for the Smolensk crash, Kaczynski leads the crowds to his brothers' memorial with cans of yellow suave. Supporters search through the cobblestone streets of the old town surrounded by scores of police blocking off the roads for them. Despite the crowds, there is also a small loud protest against Kaczynski in the Law and Justice party. But opposition groups have yet to pose any threat to Kaczynski's grip on power.

CNN asked Mr. Kaczynski for an interview but he declined. Atika Shubert, CNN, Warsaw, Poland.


CHURCH: It's a busy morning for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. First, she will meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Migration will be on the agenda. Orban appears willing to reach a deal to limit asylum seekers in Germany and other countries. Then, Merkel sits down with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Brexit will be on the agenda there, including the possibility of keeping the Irish border open and the plan that would allow Britain to set its own tariffs on imports.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Merkel is warning the U.S. president that hitting auto imports from Germany with new tariffs could have dire consequences.

German business groups also predict that would harm investments in the United States. German automotive plants support nearly 120,000 jobs in the U.S. In a speech to Parliament, Mrs. Merkel, said Germany will do everything to prevent the situation from escalating.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): We now have tariffs on aluminum and steel, and we have a discussion which is very serious. It appears cars too will be imposed with tariffs when they are imported into the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen, this has the character of a trade conflict. I don't want to use any other word, for now, it's worth every effort to try and defuse this conflict so it doesn't turn into a war. But this obviously, takes two.


CHURCH: The eight teams remaining in the World Cup are preparing for their quarterfinal matchups in Russia, later this week. There was no action on the pitch, Wednesday. It was all at the airports.

Thrones of screaming fans were on hand in Tokyo to welcome Team Japan back from Russia. Samurai Blue made an impressive showing in the tournament before being eliminated by Belgium 3-2 in the round of 16.

So, football fans will have another day to catch their breath before the action resumes, but its back to the pitch on Friday as Uruguay takes on France. Brazil will battle with Belgium later in the day. On Saturday, Sweden goes head-to-head with England. And finally World Cup host Russia will meet Croatia. Well, WhatsApp has a problem, and so has India, its biggest market. It's all about deadly attacks sparked by hoax messages. Story from New Delhi that is next.

Plus, a deadly heat wave in Eastern Canada has prompted urgent appeals to the people of Montreal to make sure their neighbors are OK.


[02:51:33] CHURCH: Well, the free messaging application WhatsApp, says it's cracking down on hoax messages in India after a series of deadly attacks. Nearly a dozen people have been killed by mob violence after being mistakenly accused of kidnapping children.

The rumors that led to the killings were spread on WhatsApp. A New Delhi Bureau Chief Nikhil Kumar brings us that story.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: WhatsApp has found itself at the center of a growing problem here in India, the spread of fake news often with deadly consequences.

A tension on this problem intensified here after a spate of mob attacks triggered by fake messages shared on the Facebook on service. For the past six week, nearly a dozen people have been killed in separate incidents after being falsely accused of child abduction based on what's up rumors.

The violence is pushing the government here to find those responsible for abusing the social platform. India's technology ministry said the law and order machinery is taking steps to apprehend the culprits. And India, in fact, issued a warning to WhatsApp, Tuesday.

The ministry saying, the spread of these fake messages was a matter of deep concern. WhatsApp, now said that's working on a new feature to help prevent hoax messages in India. The company's biggest market with over 200 million users.

The company says it's horrified by the violence and is testing a tool that will show users when a message is a forward rather than one composed by the sender.

The idea is to send a signal to users to think twice before forwarding unsubstantiated rumors. The company also says it's working with local academic experts to learn more about how these fake messages are spread.

They're also going to work more closely with Indian law enforcement to combat this fake news at the time tackled is serious and now deadly problem. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.

CHURCH: A scorching heat wave in the eastern U.S. and Canada is being blamed for the deaths of, at least, 18 people in Montreal, and elsewhere in Quebec, since Sunday.

Officials say, all the victims lived alone and none had air- conditioning. They are urging people to beat the heat at Montreal's 19 cooling stations. They're also asking everyone to check on their neighbors and any family members who might be at risk.

Now, this relentless heat wave began ramping up late last month. Did in an hour, Derek Van Dam joins us now to talk to us about that. At least, there are these cooling stations for some people, it's not always available for those who are gone through this.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Right, right, exactly. Since it's been ramping up for so long, a good six days it's just that much more difficult for bodies to -- you know, kind of relieve themselves from the heat that they have had experienced. Especially, when they don't have air-conditioning and places like those cooling stations to go to, because a lot of people just can't get out of bed, and for instance, or cannot get out of their house.

Well, the firefighters and the police of Montreal have been extremely busy, as well. In fact, they checked on 15,000 individuals in Montreal alone yesterday when the heat was at its worst to check, to see if they were OK.

So, what is the underlying cause of all this heat? Well, we have what is called a heat dome. An area of high pressure that builds high up into the atmosphere and that has really ridged up along the East Coast in the United States, all the way into Cuba and that has soared our temperatures roughly five to 10 degrees Celsius above the average mark for this time of year.

So, there has been heat exhaustion, there has been heat strokes. And you can see the differences between how a body reacts to heat exhaustion versus a heat stroke, of course. We don't want to see heat stroke in victims because that can obviously be deadly for people, as well. As in this case, there have already been 18 fatalities.

Now, the problem with Montreal and other large cities is it creates what is called an urban heat island effect. So there's so much concrete, and so many buildings, and lack of vegetation within this area that it traps the heat and there is just an excessive amount of -- well, temperature within the city centers like this that, in fact, says some cities can be anywhere from one to three degree Celsius above a temperature outside of the actual city. So that is called an urban heat island effect.

Yesterday's temperature in Montreal was 34, similar into Ottawa. Montreal temperature today will also be a sweltering 34 degrees and that's not even when you factor in the humidity. But, the good news here is that there is relief in store for much of the Northeast and for Eastern Canada.

Look at Friday's temperature, 23 degrees. We're talking about a 10-11 degree temperature difference from today to tomorrow that is good news We still have over 80 million Americans under a heat advisory watch or warning, so that is not only an Eastern Canada issue it's also much of the United States and the Southwest is starting to heat up, as well.

Including Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and into Phoenix where extreme heat warnings and watches are in place. Triple-digit heat for that area. Remember we've got an ongoing drought for this region, so that means, wildfires are going to be concerned into this weekend and the heat there, obviously, in a major issue.

Here's our temperatures were about four degrees above average for this time of year for the Eastern U.S. Far cry from the 10 degrees above average like they are in parts of Eastern Canada. But, needless to say, there is some relief coming for the Eastern U.S. Now, we focus our attention on southwestern part of the country.

CHURCH: Yes, a lot to cover there. Derek, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

VAN DAM: All right, thank you very much.

CHURCH: Well, finally this hour, it could be the future of mass transit in the world's most populous country. How about a self- driving bus? One of China's biggest tech companies has already begun mass production with 100 of the vehicles now ready to roll. The buses can seat up to 14 people. There is, of course, no driver's seat, steering wheel, or pedals, and it's all electric.

The buses will soon hit the road in several Chinese cities and may be headed for other countries, as well. Give the lookout. Thanks so much for joining us this hour, I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter, love to hear from you and I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN.