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There Are 12 Boys All Under 16 And Their Coach, Are Trapped In Cave In Northern Thailand; Talks Between The U.S. And North Korea Have Apparently Hit A Snag; President Trump's Defense Of An Ohio Congressman Accused Of Turning A Blind Eye To Years Of Alleged Sexual Abuse Back When He Was A College Wrestling Coach; The New Clues After A British Couple Was Poisoned With The Same Nerve Agent That Nearly Killed An Ex-Russian Spy; President Trump Will Meet With Queen Elizabeth Next Week. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 7, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] RYAN NOBLES, CNN HOST: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles in New York. Ana Cabrera is off today.

Breaking news right now, a last-resort rescue mission that is beyond dangerous what may literally be the only way to save the lives of a boys' soccer team trapped underground.

This is a cave in northern Thailand, 12 boys all under 16 and their coach, are trapped there. Their nightmare began two weeks ago when they got stock in this cave. The most terrifying hours are still to come. Rescuers have no more time to waste. Air is running out in the cave. And the weather is going from bad to much worse.

CNN's Matt Rivers is there where the rescuers are planning their next move.

Matt, even though it is 3:00 in the morning there, are you starting to see anything to make you believe that this rescue mission is already under way?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, officially Ryan, we have no word from authorities that the rescue mission has started, but here's what we know. We know that the weather is he expected to get worse. Now, that has really pushed in rescuers up against a wall. They had a limited window of opportunity what authorities have told us in order to get these out and their coach out while the water levels in the cave are as low as they possibly can be.

We have been here for several days now. And that entire time, the rain is largely held off and we have seen water being pumped out of the cave continuously in order to get those water levels down. The rain though is going to come back. And so, if they were to make an attempt at getting these boys swimming out using diving equipment, now essentially would be the only time to do it before the rains pick back up.

And one thing we have noticed, when we have been here for many days now. And this area behind me, you can you see that green tarp back there? That wasn't here 24 hours ago. They put that up over the last couple hours. And the amount of activity behind this is actually dropped precipitously. And that, we don't know what that means. We are just speculating, but that is different than what we saw here.

I mean, just last night, I could walk up right there and do a live shot right over there. And that is not the case. Authorities are really cracking down, so there is a sense that things are changing here. And given what we know about the situation, it wouldn't be that big of a stretch to say something has started, but officially we don't know that.

NOBLES: Right. Matt, obviously, this is the story that is touching people all around the world. And there are resources coming in from all over the world. This growing international effort. You have divers, rescue crews coming from many difference countries, they are all there to help. Is that helpful or a concern that there are maybe just too many people attempting to help, and they're different to organize and send out in a proper way. ?

RIVERS: It is a good question, Ryan. I think initially there were a few too many people here. At one point actually, people were pumping more of back into the cave a couple of days ago because volunteers weren't coordinating with one another. But that has largely stops.

What you have now is a very streamed line effort with international help. You got experts from America, from Australia, from Britain, that are helping the Thai navy which is leading this efforts. So it does seems that this streamed line and that all parties here working together.

NOBLES: Obviously, everyone is concerned about those young boys that are trapped under there. We know that obviously, their physical health is of great concern. They are trying to get the more oxygen and fluid. But what about their mental health? Have they been told about just how difficult their situation is and do they know that a rescue is coming? How are they, you know, treating the children that are down there right now?

RIVERS: Yes. It is a really good question and one that we don't have the answer to quite yet. I mean, you have to imagine in what rescuers are trying to do is keep the boys' spirit up inside there. And so, as a result, we know that letters have been sent back and forth. They weren't able to establish a phone line, but letters from the children, from their parents back to the children have been exchanged. So you know they are trying to keep their spirits up.

And so, because of that maybe they are not saying how hard this is going to be, but at the same time the boys must now how dangerous the situation is and the peril that they are going to face on the way out.

NOBLES: So many people from all over the world watching every second of the story as it develops.

Matt Rivers, stay on top for us and we will get back with you if any new information emerges.

And as Matt mentioned, one of the reason that this rescue mission is now so desperate is the same reason that the boys got stuck there in the first place. Heavy monsoon rains are coming.

CNN meteorologist Alison Chinchar is watching the conditions in Northern Thailand.

Alison, tell us what they are dealing with right now and how bad it could possibly get.

ALISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. As we have already begun to see the beginning of the next round of monsoon rains. As we mentioned, you good news is they have had a bill of a reprieve the last few days. We look at the measurable rainfall over the last couple of weeks. Notice nothing from July 2nd all the way to July 7th with no measurable rain. This was great. This allows those cruise to get in there and really get that water already indicate to recede and get those levels as low as they possible could. Unfortunately, they can't remove all of it because now the rain is starting to comeback. So you really in that narrow window now in which the lowest levels of water inside the cave before rain begins to bring more.

We are starting to see that moisture come back. This is the area in question right here around that cave. The moisture, the orange and red colors you see on the screen. That's where it's starting to push back into the area.

This is normal this time of year. We are in the peak monsoon season right now. And you notice that on the forecast. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, all looking at either an 80 percent or 90 percent chance of rain.

And for the most part, this isn't going to be light rain. You are going to have some heavy downpours mixed in. So that causes two problems. One, you have to understand how the caves are made up. In some of these passages they are very narrow. So when you talk about say even two or three inches of rain, that may not sound like that much, but it's enough to fill some of those extremely narrow passages. Not only does that cause problems because obviously it prevents the folks from getting through there. But, you have to understand the oxygen.

When those are empty, oxygen flows freely through those cave's passages, but now that water is there, it is an entirely different story. That oxygen supply gets caught off. We have already been dealing with dangerous levels of oxygen. And those numbers could come down even more s more water flows in.

We talked about and it is a rainy season July and August being the peak two months of that. But how much rain do we expect in the short term? When we break down the next couple days, you will notice that we are expecting significant amounts of rain. Widespread totals for this particular area looking to be about two to four inches. But keep in mind, some of those heavier downpours could occur within some embedded thunder storms.

So Ryan, you could have some locations that pick up four even six inches of rain in just the next five days. [16:06:54] NOBLES: Alison, excellent illustration as to why these

next few hours are so important those boys are going to be rescue in the near future.

Allison Chinchar, thank you for that report.

While the divers in Thailand battled time in the elements, we wanted to get a sense of exactly what they are up against.

CNN's Gary Tuchman went with a group of U.S. cave drivers for an up- close exclusive look at the tetchiest conditions that rescuers face. He went to Logan Canyon in Utah and into a cave similar to the one where the Thai soccer team is trapped.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I walk in 43 degree water with two of the predominant cave divers in the United States.

Sergeant Wendell Nope is the trainer of the Utah department of public safety dive team. Richard Lamb is a civilian who is part of the team.

We are in northern Utah's Logan canyon. At a cave system, geographically similar to the cave in Thailand where the young boys and coach are tapped. And it's similar in other ways, too.

SGT. WENDELL NOPE, UTAH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY DIVE TEAM: This cave is flooded with snow melt water. The cave in Thailand is flooded with monsoon water.

TUCHMAN: Both men begin their scuba voyage into the cave, with our cameras, to give us a look at the dangers and show us why you absolutely never do anything like this without cave driving certification. Just getting into this system requires squeezing through a narrow tunnel. And this is not the narrowest tunnel they will face. Water that go as deep as 90 feet.

Are you scared sometimes when go in a cave like this?

NOPE: I have at times been afraid some something unexpected happens.

TUCHMAN: Something unexpected includes equipment failure, changes in water depth, and falling rocks and boulders that could leave you trapped.

RICHARD LAMB, CAVE DIVER: My greatest fear is running out of the air before I make it out of the cave. The truth is I've been stuck in this cave.

TUCHMAN: Stuck for about six minutes, Richard Lamb says, it crossed his mind he was in serious trouble. He was rescued by sergeant Nope.

To become cave divers certified, one of the requirement is that you must be at least 18 years old, do the difficulties and skill needed which raises yet another concern for those boys in Thailand, some as young as 11, and several who can't swim. NOPE: In my perception it's a last resort, but it is a viable means

of providing an escape route.

TUCHMAN: If it's the only resort?

NOPE: If it's the only resort.

TUCHMAN: Fishes in Thailand are pumping water out of the cave around the clock, a much better options says this mater diver.

NOPE: I believe if the rain were to subside enough that the pump would draw enough water out of the cave, that would be optimal scenario.

TUCHMAN: This frigid watery cave is so (INAUDIBLE) dangerous that we have been told that more people have walked on the moon that have navigated through this. Our two experts sell us, in addition to themselves they know of only five other people who have gone through here.

The circumstances for the boys and their soccer coach in Thailand remain life-threatening and extremely challenging, but the Utah effort have faith in their diving colleagues on the scene.

[16:10:16] NOPE: When a human being is faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, we seem to rise to that challenge.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, Logan Canyon, Utah.

NOBLES: As a rescue mission is being mapped out, Thai Navy SEALs help the trapped team and their families communicate. The boys and their soccer coach sent several individual hand-written notes and one joint letter. In it, they told their parents not to worry and listed the things they wanted, like food, and to go home. They even asked their teachers not to give them a lot of homework.

Waiting parents reached out their boys' in one letter telling him not to blame himself. It said quote "we as your soccer team members' parents believe in you and your spirit that you have been taking good care of our kids. We just want you to know that this is not your fault. We all here don't blame you and just want you not to blame yourself."

This from parents to a son, we just want you to know that we are waiting to have a birthday party with you, my son. So please take care of yourself and we will celebrate together. Don't be so worried. Now we are all here together with your grandparents and your cousins waiting for you. We love you.

And these words from a parent. Quote "I am waiting for you here at the cave entrance my brave son. I miss you, as you are a strong and patient son. I believe that you will make it. We miss you, love you, you are the only one for me.

Of course that encouragement from their family could be such an important part of that confidence as they make a perilous rescue attempt out of that cave.

Coming up, one side says there was progress, the other said it could all fall apart. The new diplomatic back-and-forth that we are getting North Korea to denuclearize. That's coming up next.


[16:16:19] NOBLES: Breaking news, talks between the U.S. and North Korea have apparently hit a snag, the north accusing the U.S. of making a quote "unilateral and a gangster-like demand for denuclearization." And yet secretary of state Mike Pompeo sounding optimistic after two days of talks setting progress and productive conversations.

And let's find out more about this with our Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne.

Ryan, it seems we are getting too dramatically different versions of the same meeting. What should we take from all of this?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think one thing to take away is the fundamental misunderstanding of what exactly was agreed to in Singapore between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Now, the North Koreans putting out that statement as you said, accusing the U.S. of making gangster-like demands in its insistence upon an immediate complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea. North Korea preferring a step-by- step approach, trading different concessions for different -- from the U.S. side for different concessions from the North Korean side. That's a very different tone from what we heard immediately following the meetings from secretary of state Mike Pompeo who spoke to reporters before boarding his aircraft for Tokyo.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, your characterization is interesting. We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do. And how is the case we can get our arms around, achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to do which was the complete denuclearization of North Korea. There is no one walked away from that. They're still equally committed to. Chairman Kim is still committed. I had a chance to speak with President Trump this morning. My counter did the part spoke with chairman Kim during the course of our negotiations as well. We had productive good fate negotiations.


BROWNE: Now, Pompeo said that additional meetings would continue and saying that the hope that the conversations would continue to proceed. And the North Koreans statement also did talk about President Trump, saying that they hoped his positive statements in Singapore would help carry these negotiations forward. But it's hard to see how they will progress unless both sides kind of have the same definition of what denuclearization means -- Ryan.

And that they clearly do not seem to have that same interpretation right now.

Ryan Browne, thank you for that report.

Let's talk this over with our panel now. With us, CNN political commentator and former Trump adviser Steve Cortez, a commentary writer and editor for "the Washington Examiner" Siraj Hashmi, and CNN contributor and national reporter for "the Washington Post" Wesley Lowery.

Gentlemen, plenty to discuss. I want to first point this out. A few weeks ago, the President of the United States said this. Quote "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea." Those are his exact words in a tweet. Today, Kim Jong-un chose not to meet with Pompeo in North Korea. He is calling the U.S. attitude regrettable.

So Siraj, I'm going to let you take the first crack at this. Did the President take a victory lap too soon?

SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER/EDITOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Possibly. You know, if you could cite every single Trump tweet and say this is a beautifully, you know, we can could go on hours talking about this. You know, North Korea seems to be engaging in a game or in elaborate troll job against the White House and President Trump, to see where exactly he stands on actually enforcing the North Korean agreement in trying to get them to denuclearize. You know, we can talk about what the definition of denuclearization is, because the North Koreans don't seem to know what it is. It seems as if they don't want to buzz at all, and are trying at the very least to play games with this White House.

NOBLES: So Steve, from your perspective, what does the President get out of the summit with Kim besides what could end up being some empty promises?

[16:20:03] STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, no. He has got quite a bit, by the way. And look. We don't know what the future holds. And President Trump was clear about that. There are a lot of unknowns.

But here are the known. What has already been achieve is that Kim Jong-un is no longer firing missiles into the Pacific Ocean. He is no longer testing. We know that our hostages have been returned. We know that he is willing to negotiate to end the Korean War. Those are all wonderful achievements and things that were impossible under previous administration. And President Trump deserves enormous credit.

What will happen from here is unknown. But Secretary Pompeo, by the way, I will take his word before I take the word of the propagandas of Pyongyang.

NOBLES: Right. But Steve, I know. I can see your point there.

CORTES: There's a cat and mouse game here.


NOBLES: Understand your point there. But you might want to trust the secretary of state more than the North Koreans. But the fact that they are willing to go publicly and completely contradict the secretary of state, whether or not they are telling the truth about what happened in that meeting is not a good sign, is it?

CORTES: No. It is not a good sign. But by the way, we are not dealing with -- you know, we are not negotiating (INAUDIBLE) with Brit. I mean, this is North Korea. This is a rogue state. One of the most dangerous, probably the most dangerous government in the entire world. So I guess we shouldn't be shot that we are going to see, you know, duplicity out of them. And that is something what we are seeing here. But it also doesn't mean that we shouldn't negotiate. It doesn't mean that we -- what we have already achieved does matter, because it does matter. And I think there is still a lot more to achieve.

But look. I think the President of the United States, to me this is that partisan, all of us as Americans want a due nuclearized Korean peninsula. I think we have made progress toward that. No one is claiming we have achieved it on a stainable permanent basis. But we are making progress toward it. And that is the great thing for the United States.

NOBLES: Well, I don't know. I mean, the President did say we could sleep well tonight because of that, Steve.

But I do want to move on to Wesley. Wesley, I wonder about your perspective on what this means for the entire region. And perhaps the world of China is playing with all of this. You know, this breakdown of communications between the two sides comes right after the President implemented these pretty heavy tariffs on China.

Do you think there is any chance that China is playing a role in the response we are seeing from North Korea today?

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think you have a right to note that timing, right. That this is something that is happen right after, I mean, in the wake of the beginning as really what is the trade war between us and China. The tariffs and then the response from the Chinese government. So there's a real question about what -- to what extent North Korea's posture is being influenced by the politics of the Chinese as well as the pressure of their government.

That said, I think this entire episode continues to underscore how (INAUDIBLE) these negotiations are to begin with, right. That it is not a victory for North Korea to say, yes, we are going to denuclearize and then not do it nor is it a victory for us to say they have done it and then for them to say no, we haven't.

And so, it really does speak to how different these negotiations are back and forth. And maybe we are raising this from the very beginning, right. It's not necessarily true that no other President or administration could have had these talks. So there was a real question among the, you know, diplomats across the country and internationally about whether or not these conversations would be fruitful at all because there is a question about whether or not North Koreans could be trusted to do the things they said they are going to do.

NOBLES: So, Wesley, do you take Steve's point though that the fact the they are talking even if there's a breakdown in communication at any point could still be a positive sign that there's still the possibility these talks could bear fruit?

LOWERY: Of course it could be a good thing. I mean, unquestionably it could be a thing. And I think things such as, you know, hostages bringing back, everyone agrees a great thing. That said, people take hostages to gain leverage, right. And so, when President Trump, for example, acknowledges Kim Jong-un by his supreme leader title, a thing that no other President ever would have dreamed to doing, it begins to legitimize what is their brutal on the president regime and that is a victory. I mean, and so the North Koreans, while they have told us they have done some things we want them to do, they are also getting and achieving some of their goals in this.

NOBLES: All right. Let's move on to another topic, and that is immigration. The current situation at the border, the Trump administration has told the judge that it may need more time to reunite these children with their parents after separating them at the border. And they are now resorting to DNA tests.

Siraj, does the Trump administration have a clear idea of how it is going to reunite these families from your perspective? Does it appear that way anyway?

HASHMI: Well, That's to be determined. Because right now, there are -- there have been some children who have reunited with their parents, with respect to -- I actually think the DNA tests are probably going to be the most efficient way of trying to prove that a lot of these children who came across the border illegally didn't come through human traffickers or smuggler, you know. That's probably the biggest sign that, you know, these numbers may have been inflated of the number of families that were quote separated may not actually be families at all. And so you have to -- I understand that the Trump administration is trying to at least prove which children are actually belong a specific parent or whether they came in unaccompanied and came in through a child trafficker or human trafficker. Those are actually concerning, because you don't want to endanger the child by any means.

[16:25:13] NOBLES: But Steve, shouldn't the administration have worried about that before they implemented the policy of zero- tolerance? To be able to have a clear way of identifying which children go with which parents before they implement this plan instead of after the fact during the unification process?

CORTES: But Ryan, that presupposes that the burden of proof is on the United States. That it's our problem to prove which child belongs with which adult. And by the way, I have nothing but empathy for the children. They are absolutely the victims here. But the perpetrators are not Donald Trump or ICE or the United States. The perpetrators are these adults, whether the parents or not, these adults who have made a willful decision to cross our borders, to trespass, to break and enter into the United States illegally. And when they do so with children, they are quite frankly abusing those children whether they are their own choir or not. So the burden of proof is not on us, it is on them.

The point is, if you don't break and enter the United States, you will not be separated from your children. And I don't know how to say that anymore emphatically. So if you are a family, and some of them of course are, the way to keep your family together is don't break and enter into our country.

NOBLES: Wesley, has there not been enough focus on that aspect that Steve is point out. That if these parents had not attempted to get in to the country illegally, they would not have been separated from their children?

LOWERY: I think there has been a lot of focus on that. It has been what the Trump White House said over and over and over again. Though I will say it, as a reporter, as journalist, the burden of proof is in fact on the people who have taken the children away from their parents, to make sure they get back to their parents, right.

I can think of my colleagues for "Washington Post" a piece, a week or two, although it was heartbreaking talking about in some of these detention centers, fathers and mothers sleeping with their arms wrap around their children's legs so they are not taken away from them in the night. Cases where parents have been told go give your kids some water or some food. Never mind, they are never coming back.

No, the person who takes, who separates a child from their mother is the person responsible for making sure that child gets back to their mother.


CORTES: That would be true if we are going -- look. ICE is not going into Mexico or going in Honduras and taking children away from their parents. These are people who are trespassing into our country. And just as an American, by the way, if I were to leave the studio, and go rob a convenient store with my kids in the car and get caught, I'm going to be separated from my children and I should be.

And by the way, the children are the victims, whether it's an American criminal or international criminal. The children who are victims, I have nothing but empathy for them. But the idea that, you know, that the law enforcement agent separated us is just not true. I as a criminal in that case separated myself from my children just as these border crossers do.

LOWERY: Robbing a convenience store is a felony, entering the United States of America illegally is a misdemeanor. So you are saying -- so, by your logic --.

CORTES: First time. LOWERY: So if you speed down the street go 35 in a 30, I should go

take your child from you and hide them in a state where you can't find them? That would be insane, right?



NOBLES: We are out time.

CORTES: This is far more severe than speeding, let's be honest. And the second time, by the way, which is it is for many of these people, it is a felony. It is a felony after the first time. And it should be the first time.

NOBLES: Wesley's point about a misdemeanor and felony is correct. Your point about a second offense could lead to a felony is also correct, but unfortunately we are going to have to leave this conversation there.

Thank you, guys. Steve Cortez, Siraj Hashmi, and Wesley Lowery, we appreciate your perspectives.

A lot more news ahead, including President Trump's defense of an Ohio congressman accused of turning a blind eye to years of alleged sexual abuse back when he was a college wrestling coach. That story is ahead when we come back.



[16:33:23] TRUMP: Pocahontas, they always want me to apologize for saying it. Let's say I'm debating Pocahontas, right. I promise you I will do this. I will take, you know, those little kids, they sell on television for $2? Learn your heritage. We will take that little kid and say we have to do it gently, because we are in the Me Too generation. We have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kid and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm.


NOBLES: That of course President Trump taking a swipe at both the Me Too movement and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren who claimed Native American heritage as part of her background.

The President, of course, is famous for attacking people. But he is also quick to defend those who have been accused of bad acts or in the most recent example, Congressman Jim Jordan accused of ignoring them.

CNN's Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Onboard air force one, President Trump quick to defend Congressman Jim Jordan, telling reporters I believe him. I believe him 100 percent. The Ohio Republican is facing allegations that he ignored years of sexual abuse by a team doctor, when he was assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University. Jordan has denied that. It's unclear what evidence, if any, the President has seen, but that didn't stop him from dismissing the accusers, saying simply I don't believe them at all.

This is hardly the first time Trump jumped to defend the accused and rejected the accusations against it. After Trump nominated his White House physician rear admiral Ronny Jackson to run veterans affairs, Jackson was accused of multiple drunken episodes overseas, even banging on the hotel room door of a female employees. Jackson said the allegations were without merit, but ultimately took himself out of the running. Trump still publicly supported him.

[16:25:03] TRUMP: He would have done a great job. He has a tremendous heart. These are all false accusations. These are false --

KAYE: The President also defended Rob Porter after both of his ex- wives accused him of domestic abuse, which he denied. After Porter resigned as the White House staff secretary, Trump said this.

TRUMP: As you probably know, he says he is innocent. And I think you have to remember that.

KAYE: A series of women accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of pursuing relationships with them as teenagers. And in some cases, forcing himself on them. Moore denied the claim. Trump still supported Moore in his senate run.

TRUMP: He denies it. He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen.

KAYE: And after FOX News host Bill O'Reilly was accused of acting inappropriately with co-workers and female guest on the show, the "New York Times" reported he and FOX News paid five of the accusers of combined $13 million in exchange for their silence. Knowing that Trump still had his backs. Telling Times quote "I think he should have been settled. I don't think Bill did anything wrong." O'Reilly denied acting inappropriately.

Also when multiple women complained that FOX News President Roger Ailes had sexually harassed them, ultimately leading to his firing from the network, Trump called the accusations totally unfounded and painted a rosy picture of Ailes, who also denied the claims.

TRUMP: Some of the women who are complains, I know how much he has helped them, and even recently.

KAYE: Perhaps all of this should come as no surprise. After all, Donald Trump has defended himself, too. After more than a dozen women accused him of behaving inappropriately with them. He denied it all, even mocking one at a campaign rally.

TRUMP: When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said, I don't think so. I don't think so. The stories are total fiction.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


NOBLES: Coming up, it is the home of big ben, Buckingham palace, and soon this big baby. A look at what awaits President Trump on his first visit to the UK. Stay right there.


[16:42:08] NOBLES: President Trump will meet with Queen Elizabeth next week, on his first official trip to the UK as commander in-chief. The visit with America's closest ally now being built as a working visit, not a state occasion with heavy pump and ceremony. Her royal imagine majesty though will host the President and first lady Melania Trump Friday at Winsor castle. The British Monarch's country estate outside London. And the recent site, of course, of Prince Harry and Duchess Megan's royal wedding. I think that for a little bit of coverage.

Let's talk this over now with Victoria Arbiter. She is CNN's royal commentator.

Victoria, so this officially being called a working visit, as opposed to a state occasion, how does this impact the visit that the President will have with the queen?

VITORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: It was downgraded, you are right. He was supposed to attend the UK last year for statement. And actually only Obama and George W. Bush has ever been granted a state visit. But it was downgraded in response to protest, the petition that was handed into the British government.

So this working visit is really one where we don't see the profession with the (INAUDIBLE) down (INAUDIBLE). We don't have the military parade. There won't be a glittering state banquet at Buckingham Palace. But, of course, the queen is head of state. And as she is head of state, she is required by the government to meet your visiting head of state. And so, Donald Trump will meet the queen but it will just be afternoon tea as opposed to a full banquet.

NOBLES: Now, there's still etiquette involve in that right. I mean, and Donald Trump is not one that necessarily follow by the rules in certain occasions. One of the big royal no-no is that you do not touch the queen. Do you think there will be some worry that President Trump will violate that piece of etiquette?

ARBITER: Well, occasionally. And of course, this is a guideline. You know, she has been on the throne 66 years, so she's sort of prepared for anything, Michelle Obama was criticized heavily to put her arm around the queen a few years ago. Yes, I would advise Donald Trump not to ask for selfie, not to try and hug her. Of course, there will be a memo when he shake the hands. And he is not required, as a foreign national, he a not required to bow to her. Out of respect, I recommend he does, but it's a nod to the head as opposed with sort of over the (INAUDIBLE). Also, it is your majesty the first time. After that, it is ma'am, and let her drive the conversation. Don't ask her, her views on Brexit. That's probably bet

NOBLES: And she's probably not going to make any political headlines, right. That's not typically when she does a form like that?

ARBITER: No. The queen is required to remain politically neutral. That's the beauty of having a politically neutral had to say. So really I think it's interesting that the queen since Harry Truman has met every U.S. President other than Lyndon Johnson. So he should stick to those topics. Ask her about her experiences in American, meeting of the American President. And if in doubt, the British love to talk about weather and currently football.

NOBLES: Of course, we can't go without asking you about the big baby, the Trump baby balloon that is scheduled to fly over London during President Trump's visit. I mean, what is the royal etiquette for handling the baby balloon? I imagine that is not in any book anywhere.

ARBITER: No, not in any book. I think best avoided really. The British (INAUDIBLE) when it comes to the art of avoidance. Windsor is about 25 miles outside of central London, so it's actually been sort of very carefully orchestrated. Donald Trump is very unlikely to see that balloon in person. I'm sure he is going to be aware of it.

At the moment, it's been giving permission to fly for two hours next Friday morning. Permission has only been granted so far by (INAUDIBLE), who is London's mayor, who has clashed quite publicly with Donald Trump on twitter. We still need them at the (INAUDIBLE) to approve this balloon as well. But it's a peaceful protest. Kahn has said he approves that of that.

[16:45:28] NOBLES: Wow. And it seems that President Trump is not going to spend too much time in London now.

ARBITER: No. He really won't be in London. He is going to a banquette at (INAUDIBLE) palace which is the birthplace of Churchill, (INAUDIBLE). That would be on Thursday night hosted by Theresa May, the British prime minister. And then he will attend to working lunch with Theresa May at her country estate, checkers which is out in Buckinghamshire.

So no. I think it's very unlikely that he is going to come anywhere near to the center of London. Because of course, that's where they are expecting the main protests to be.

NOBLES: OK. Victoria, thank you so much for your perspective. Appreciate it.

ARBITER: Thank you.

NOBLES: All right. Still to come, an international mystery involving espionage accusations and fear. The new clues after a British couple was poisoned with the same nerve agent that nearly killed an ex- Russian spy. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:50:36] NOBLES: Breaking news out of Salisbury, England where a police officers is getting tested on a hospital in connection with the poisoning of a couple that were supposedly hit with the nerve agent there.

Meantime, Metropolitan police say it could take months to find out how that couple came in contact with that deadly nerve agent. Counterterrorism detectives are watching more than 1300 hours of surveillance video to trace the couple's steps.

Our Erin McLaughlin has that story.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the last time we see Don Sturgis and Charlie Rollie before they fell ill, exposed to a deadly nerve agent. CNN exclusively obtained this footage of the couple arriving at a corner shop in Sturgis' home in Salisbury.

It's time-stamped Friday, June 29th, 9:54 p.m. You see Sturgis walking in, her boyfriend Rollie waits outside drinking from a bottle. She picks up four cans of beer and two bottles of wine, pays the cashier, then leaves with Rollie.

This is the shop where the couple bought alcohol before continuing in the night. You can see just over that way, the street where Don Sturgis lives is currently cordoned off by police. It's unclear where the couple went next exactly. But the footage shows them walking in this direction toward the center of town where four months ago a former Russian spice and his daughter were found poisoned by Novichok nerve agency.

Authorities confirmed the couple was exposed to the same substance listed as a weapon of mass destruction by the U.N.

The leading line of inquiry is that they handled the contaminated item somehow connected to the poisoning of Sergey (INAUDIBLE) and his daughter. But authorities have yet to establish a direct link.

Most concerning right now, authorities have not located the contaminated items, retracing Rollie and Sturgis' steps from that Friday, critical to the investigation.

A friend told local media earlier they visited stories in Salisbury, bought some food and purchased a blanket from a local charity shop. Midday surveillance footage captured Sturgis making an alcohol run in a center of town, before the couple and friend enjoy the afternoon drinking at a park in Salisbury. At 10:30 p.m., they took the bus to Amesbury (ph) and spent the night at Rollie's home.

By 11:00 a.m. the next morning, Sturgis one was critically ill. By 3:30 p.m., Rollie was in similar state. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, forensic experts have moved in to scour Rollie's

home looking for clues to solve the mystery. Even a small trace of this nerve can be deadly.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN Salisbury.


NOBLES: Erin, thank you.

Coming up, the race against time in Thailand, rescue crews scrambling to free a young soccer team from the caves as oxygen levels drop and monsoon rains move in. We will talk to an expert in cave diving when we come back.


[16:57:42] NOBLES: It was the decade that brought us everything from flip toes to the sopranos to the election of the first black president. Tomorrow night CNN is taking you back to the start of the 21st century with a new original series "the 2000s." Here's a sneak peek at the first episode, "the Platinum Age of Television."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the 2000s, HBO starts making a mini-series, because the networks aren't making them anymore. So they start winning Emmys in his categories.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Liberty will reign in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you are getting some of the best TV of that decade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I go to the cupboard and find no coffee, no sugar, no pins, no meat, am I not living in politics?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things that was amazing to me about John Adams was it was done as realism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A brutal and illegal act to enforce a political principle, Sam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the grittiness of founding a nation, trying to figure out what a President is.

It's a gift to be given 12 hours on HBO to tell a story with. God help you if you don't have something to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David Simon was a newspaper reporter in Baltimore. He spent a year embedded with the Baltimore homicide unit to write a book. He and Ed Burns, who was a police officer, got together and said what if we tell the whole story of the death of the American city, the futility of the war on drugs through the eyes of cops, of drug dealers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all got the best territory and no kind of product.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got the best product, but I could stand a little more territory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of teachers, politicians, just making the entire city into the character itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers, but you start to follow the money, and you don't know where the (bleep) it's going to take you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "The wire" broke down systemic racism and the cycle of poverty like no other television show had.


NOBLES: Take a look back at the decade that changed TV, the CNN original series "the 2000s" premieres tomorrow night AT 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.