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Four Boys Rescued, 8 Boys And Coach Still Trapped In Cave; Four Boys Rescued From Thai Cave Now In A Hospital; Rain Falls In Thailand As Soccer Team Cave Rescue Underway; Trump: Still Haven't Decided On SCOTUS Nominee; Giuliani Seems To Confirm Trump Asked Comey To Go Easy On Flynn; Woman Exposed To Soviet-Era Nerve Agent The 2000s: The Platinum Age Of Television Tonight At 9 ET. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 8, 2018 - 17:00   ET



RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: And you are live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ryan Nobles in tonight for Ana Cabrera from New York. CNN's breaking news right now, the urgent rescue mission that people all over the world are breathlessly following. It is way too early to exhale just yet, but the first phase of that operation, a huge success.

This is in northern Thailand where four boys trapped deep in a cave for more than two weeks emerged from that cave today, rescued by expert divers. Of course, an enormous relief, but nobody is celebrating because eight boys and their soccer coach are still stuck two and a half miles underground.

They can't get out on their own, and where they are right now is not safe. Those four rescued boys, hungry and weak, are now under doctors' care. And back at the cave, rescue teams are restocking air and other supplies before they go in to get more of the boys out.

Jonathan Miller is near the cave's entrance, at the center of the rescue mission. CNN's Matt Rivers is at the hospital where those rescue boys are being treated. Jonathan, let's begin with you. What is happening at the cave entrance right now, and when are rescuers planning to head back in?

JONATHAN MILLER, CORRESPONDENT, ASIA: Well, I think the rescuers are probably down there because although it's the middle of the night here, what we've learned from the governor of -- former governor of Chiang Rai Province here in north Thailand who has been in charge of this huge rescue operation over the past two weeks is that oxygen supplies down below, the canisters that they've prepositioned over the past week or so have run low.

And so they have been replenishing those supplies, ready for the next phase of this operation because as you say, there are eight more boys still down there and their coach. And they're going to be coming out, I think, in groups of three some time in the next 12 or so hours. You know, it's very, very precarious operation.

It tests the very best skills of the finest cave divers in the world who take six hours to come out from the chamber where the boys are out to the surface again. They did it today with those four boys who came out in just seven and half hours. So it is, as you described it, hugely successful. Nobody is breathing easy just yet thought because those boys are still down there, and the operation is far from over.

And what's a little bit worrying tonight is that there have been several hours of particularly heavy rain in this huge cave area. All that water is going into that cavern system, and the water table will rise, and they need to get the boys out before that happens.

NOBLES: Obviously, that is something everyone is paying close attention to. But, Jonathan, how are they decision how -- which boys come out first, and do they know the conditions of the boys that are still down there?

MILLER: OK. So, on the first question, I think from what we understand, one of the boys at least who was first out was in the weakest condition. If that's the case, it does make sense, but we just want to make sure that he was brought out safely first, because you don't want to leave him down there for any longer than he had to be.

In terms of the other boys and their -- and their health, well, they've been checked before the -- a tent was made today on exiting by an Australian diving doctor who gave the thumbs up when the green light for the operation to go ahead. We know that the boys are in reasonable physical fit. We know that the boys are in reasonable mental health as well.

They wrote letters to their moms and dads yesterday, and those letters came out giving an account of their own -- of the boys' sense of optimism, looking forward to having birthday parties, looking forward to eating fried chicken again back home. And so we think they are in a good shape. And the Governor confirmed that tonight. Hopefully, they'll be able to make it out because it is a very, very precarious and risky dive.

NOBLES: That's -- no doubt about that. Jonathan, obviously, some optimism after the progress has been made to this point. Jonathan Miller, thank you for that report. Now, between the heavy rainfall about to come, and the lack of oxygen in the cave, and the sheer number of days those kids have been trapped underground, the urgency has never been higher to get the rest of them out. Here's CNN's Tom Foreman now with how phase one happened.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ryan, the initial part of this rescue went faster than officials expected. Two boys came out about 10 minutes apart, then two hours later, two more. The only way that was possible was through this incredibly aggressive effort to pump many, many, many hundreds of gallons of waters out of here to clear enough spaces where they could actually walk out.

Some places remain submerged. That's why the divers have to put these boys into full face masks. There were 18 divers working inside the cave, and as they brought them out, they did in this configuration.

[17:05:00] A diver would go up front carrying the air supply for the boy, and tethered to the boy in the middle. They would follow a line out, and then another diver would come in the back to backstop the entire effort as they went through very tight areas, and other areas as well.

How many places do they actually have to be completely underwater like this? We don't entirely know because the maps are very inadequate at this point. By some estimates though, a quarter of this cave may still require that sort of passage. If that's true, these boys have to go under roughly 11 football fields completely underwater with muck, and cold, and currents.

It's a huge challenge, and yet they've managed to get four of them all the way outside. Now, why did they stop? Because they ran out of their oxygen supply. They have replenish, and that would take awhile. But the clock is really ticking here.

All of that pumping was to deal with the rain that fell from the time the boys disappeared until the little that they've reach right in here. And now what's happening? The storms are coming back in earnest. That's giving a tremendous sense of urgency here beyond what we've even seen so far. Ryan.

NOBLES: All right, Tom Foreman, thank you for that. And after that intense mission, the four rescued boys were rushed to a local hospital by helicopter and ambulance. CNN's Matt Rivers is near that hospital. And, Matt, do we have any idea how these boys are doing right now?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. The short answer is no, Ryan. We are still waiting on official word from authorities as to the conditions of these boys. They did arrive over about an hour south of that cave entrance. They were taken by an ambulance here, we saw those ambulances arrive one by one, each boy had his own ambulance that pulled right up to the emergency room just behind us.

Media access was extremely restricted. The Thai authorities have really taken great steps today to ensure the privacy of these boys, understandably so, so media has been kept back. There was netting put up around the emergency room, so we still haven't gotten a glimpse or even a clue as to the identity which boys actually were taken out of this cave.

One thing though that was can, you know, just gleaned by the fact that they made it out of that cave, as you heard Tom say, that was an incredibly difficult task. And so they at least have the physical strength to manage that. Now, what -- how that depleted their reserves, what other symptoms they might have, what are their illnesses they might have contracted well in the cave, that we don't know.

But we do know there's medical staff here at this hospital has been preparing for this for weeks now. They say they are prepared for any contingency, and so hopefully at this point these boys are in good hands.

NOBLES: All right. Matt Rivers live outside the hospital where these rescued boys have been taken for treatment. Matt, thank you for that. Now, for those four rescued boys, the focus now shifted to their health and recovery. All four remain hospitalized.

They boys will be checked for signs of malnutrition, dehydration, hypothermia, and array of other possible health issues. Let's bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent. Sanjay, you heard Matt's report there. From your perspective, what do you think the immediate medical concerns are for these boys that are now being treated at that hospital?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, when it comes to this sort of medicine, you know, triage on scene, it really is broken down into a few big buckets. Are they breathing OK? They've just gone through this pretty treacherous rescue. We know the cave itself, typically, you have 21 percent oxygen in the air. The cave has 15 percent.

So, are they breathing OK? Do they have any underlying breathing problems? That would be one of the big things. How dehydrated are they? Has it caused their blood pressure to lower? Does it put their -- them at risk of having some sort of heart problem? Unlikely.

These are young boys, members of the soccer team, but they have been through a lot over the last couple of weeks. Those are the big ones. And we saw -- you know, as you saw, Ryan, I think two of the boys are actually leaving by ambulance. One of the boys was airlifted in my understanding.

So, at that time, at the exit of the cave, they've made a decision that probably because of one of these reasons, the boy wasn't in good of shape because of breathing problems, or blood pressure problems, that he should be flown. But those are the immediate concerns at the site, and certainly in the hospital as well.

NOBLES: Yes, I wonder how big of an issue a hyperthermia could be. Obviously, these boys do not have the proper wet clothing to be in a cave for as long as they were. The water temperature that they are swimming through is very cold. They do not have wet suits. How serious would that be from your mind as they make this dangerous journey out of the cave?

GUPTA: That's a significant concern. I mean, you know, people generally know that obviously if you're going through water, you're going to be dispersing your body heat much more quickly. Ten times as fast, for example, versus the air. There's a -- there's another concern, which may be a little less intuitive, and that is that if you are a scuba diver, and you become very cold, you start to consume a lot more of your air, a lot more of our oxygen.

That's a commodity -- that's a precious commodity as you've heard, Ryan, within these cave. So, you want to do your -- as best you can to keep these boys warm as they are exiting, but because of these conditions you can only do so much.

[17:10:01] NOBLES: Obviously, we've focused on their medical well- being. But obviously their mental health is something that is a big concern. First of all, explain to me from your perspective how important you think their mental health is in making this difficult journey to be rescued, and then what type of impacts could they deal with after the fact?

GUPTA: It's a huge part of this. It would be a huge part for any kind of rescue operation, when it comes to actually scuba diving, and using a different sort of source for your air that you're used to, some of these student -- these players, I understand, haven't even swim before. They are not really swimmers. This is a bid step forward.

And if you have an anxiety problem -- anxiety attack of some sort, that turns into a potentially life threatening situation for the players, these boys, as well as the rescue divers as well who are going to try and help them. My understanding is they're not classically buddy diving, which typically means you share your air with somebody, you go back and forth.

That would be a lot certainly over several hours to do that. But still, you know, if there's a panic because of what's happening here that could be a life threatening situation.

I will say, you know, having covered a lot of these stories, if this is sort of seen as an adventure as opposed to some sort of, you know, just strictly perilous journey. If they hear that the previous boys are alive and doing well, that certainly will go a long way towards lifting their spirits in this regard.

NOBLES: I wonder about acclimating, too, to being back outside the cave. Obviously, their bodies have adjusted in some respect to being trapped for so long inside the cave. But it's not as if all their problems go away as they exit the cave. Do their bodies need to readjust to being in a normal environment?

GUPTA: I think there will need to be some readjustment, you know, and it can be all basic things like just, you know, the ambient light, and whatever they may experience. I will tell you though, physiologically, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, those types of things, they -- my guess, Ryan, for the boys who, you know, are healthy if there's no problems with some -- any of these rescues, they probably won't be in the hospital for that long.


GUPTA: A short time -- I mean, you can restore these vital signs, make sure you give the IV fluids, address malnutrition, make sure there isn't a underlying kidney problems, or some sort of respiratory problem as a result of what they've gone through, but after that, I think it's going to be mostly psychological re-acclimation as you said, Ryan.

NOBLES: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for your perspective. Obviously, we're all hoping for a hopeful outcome, and the prospects of that seem a lot more realistic than they were even yesterday.

GUPTA: Yes, I agree.

NOBLES: All right. Thank you, Sanjay.


NOBLES: Still to come, we continue to track all of the latest developments out of Thailand including the threat of monsoon rain, and how that could affect rescue efforts.


NOBLES: Rain is falling in Thailand, putting rescuers in a race against time and water. They'll have to work fast and carefully to safely remove the eight remaining boys trapped in that cave with their soccer coach. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins me now. And, Ivan, what kind of conditions will these Navy SEALs be working in?

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Actually, a good start, Ryan, good to see you. And in the next couple of hours, I think, better than we have been. So we talk about this monsoon, it's the tropical rains, but it doesn't rain 24 hours a day, so we get some lulls. And usually that happens through the overnight hour. That is 4:17 a.m. local time there right at the cave on northern Thailand.

You see the cloud cover. I wish could show you radar. We don't have radar in this part of the world unfortunately, but the cloud cover is indicative of how much rain is falling. And you see these orange colors, clouds are higher up in the atmosphere, that depicts heavier rainfall. Notice what's happened in the last few hours.

And the over night hours, we will begin to see these holes here, so that is excellent use. The problem is, it is a diagonal pattern, so by later this afternoon, we ramp up the rain once again. And look at this, if you can put in our forecast, this is the later by the way, just come in the last couple of hours.

Pretty much anywhere from a half an inch to up an inch of rainfall. Perhaps, a little bit higher, each and every day. And remember that half inch of rainfall is not just that. A lot more rain gets into the cave system because of the topography and the mountainside here, and a lot more is coming in the next seven days. And this is pretty typical for this time of year where they get their worst of the rains, in fact, not just in July, but heading into August as well.

So things continue to get a little bit worse. This is what I was talking about as far as the cave system here, which by the way, that's how the caves were formed. We've got limestone, very porous rock, and so you get that rainfall over centuries, developing those cave systems down there, and that is what we're talking about, again, very heavy rain coming in.

Southwest monsoon, not one system, it's a pattern shift just like the southwest monsoon in the United States. We talk about heavy rain that happens each and everyday, some days are worst, some days are not, but I'll tell you what, the next few don't look so great either, very rainy weather on the way. Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Hence the reason that they are working as fast as they are. Ivan Cabrera, thank you. I want to talk now to someone who has trained extensively to dive search and rescue conditions in unusual emergency conditions, and that's John McGuire.

He is a former U.S. Navy SEAL who serve on SEAL team four. John, from everyone that we talked to about this deep cave rescue mission, it's really impossible to overstate how dangerous this is for everyone involved. I mean, what kind of conditions are those rescuers walking into? And just give me an idea of some of the things that could possibly go wrong.

JOHN MCGUIRE, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: Well, first of all, Ryan, thanks for having me on tonight. You know, I think I speak for everyone, our hearts go out for the families, and the kids, and the coach that are still there.

There are many dangerous -- diving is a dangerous thing, I think people have already heard from listening to your show that diving on the week end in the Bahamas is a lot different than the military diver, or specially a rescue situation.

This in the military is what we call closed space diving. It's where you have low visibility, or easy for the diver to get disoriented, or get lost, or cave diving. It's probably the most dangerous type of rescue. And you hear about the weather coming in.

[17:20:00] If you had no weather coming in, it would be the most dangerous type of diving. You add the weather, and it's even more complicated.

NOBLES: You know, John, I think there were a lot of people that paused when they heard that one of these elite and trained military divers died in the cave preparing for the rescue mission. I mean, is that a clue just how difficult this process will be for these young boys who have no experience even swimming, let alone diving in conditions like these?

MCGUIRE: Absolutely. I mean, you can imagine for military divers and Navy SEALs, not everybody makes it through training. And the guys that make it through the training, you know, they can handle adversity, you know, they can handle emergency procedures, they know how each guy is going to react, and now you've got these young boys.

I've done some of these though modern or Spartan type races where you get to a wall, and all you have to do is put your head under the wall, and come out the other side. It's like one foot under water. And some of the strongest guys freeze, and panic, and can't even do that.

Some of these guys are wired differently. We don't even know how these children are matured to handle adversity. They certainly don't know how to gear, they don't know the emergency procedures. So this is a very tough rescue even if they were qualified divers.

NOBLES: Yes. You have seen some these pictures were showing some of them on gear right now. Tell us from what you can about the types of rope, and specialized gear, and equipment that you see them using. Is this standard for a cave rescue, or are they just kind of making do with what they have available to them? MCGUIRE: I've got to say, you know, God bless the U.S. divers, and

the divers of Great Britain, and the other countries because they're certainly risking their life to save these people. You know, these guys are even more qualified than I was.

But I will tell you back in the '90s I was assigned to the naval experimental diving unit as part of an international rescue event similar to this, not quite at this level, and we had Great Britain, and many other countries involved, and I love the fact that they've come together. But it's a tough, tough thing.

NOBLES: Now, is it more challenging than people being rescued that these are children? Does that make it more difficult? I mean, we talked about it a little bit, but maybe if you can expand upon the fact that they're basically training these kids on how to use scuba equipment. This is something that, you know, if you were to get a scuba certification, it would take you weeks to earn that certification.

MCGUIRE: You know, it is tough. I mean, you have things like buoyancy, you've got to figure that out because if they're too buoyant they're going to stick to the cave wall, the ceiling, and if they're too negative they're going to sink to the bottom. So, they've got to figure out buoyancy.

And then finding a face mask and gear that fit their mask size properly, and again, there are some people you can offer them hundreds of dollars, and they won't put their face in the water. So I don't know what these kids are dealing with.

And then on top of that, I think that it's dark, they probably have lights, and things down there now. Imagine walking into the caves with air, and leaving the caves with minimal light and water. I mean, it's a lot of stress.

NOBLES: John McGuire, thank you so much for telling us about your experience. We appreciate it very much. And breaking news...

MCGUIRE: Thanks for having me.

NOBLES: Yes. And breaking news, just moments ago, President Trump returning to Washington ahead of a big day tomorrow, that's when he's going to announce his next pick for the United States Supreme Court. You see him there with his wife, the First Lady Melania Trump.

The President told reporters as he was leaving New Jersey that he still hasn't made his final decision, but then he's very close, and that he has narrowed it to a short list of four candidates. Now, whoever is ultimately confirmed will fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. We'll have more on that later in the program, but stick with us. We'll be right back.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very close to making a decision, have not made it official, yet, obviously, have not made it final. But we're very close to making a decision. Let's say it's the four people, but they are excellent, every one. You can't go wrong. But I'm getting very close to making a final decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who do you have in mind right now?

TRUMP: I'll probably be deciding tonight or tomorrow.


NOBLES: Tonight or tomorrow, President Trump teasing his last hour discussing his potential pick for the Supreme Court. He's set to announce his decision tomorrow night. Meanwhile, there's been a pretty significant development in the obstruction of justice investigation into the President.

Today, his attorney Rudy Giuliani seemed to confirm that the President did in fact ask former FBI Director James Comey for leniency when it came to his friend and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez is live in New Jersey where the President was spending his weekend. Boris, this request of Comey, and his eventual firing essentially is what led to the Mueller investigation.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ryan, and the President has denied that James Comey's testimony about what happened during that meeting was accurate. The President has repeatedly said that Comey is lying specifically about whether or not the President asked Comey to take it easy on Michael Flynn.

I want to point out this tweet from back in December of last year, specifically the President spells out, I never asked Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn. Just more fake news covering another Comey lie. Well, today during an interview on ABC, Rudy Giuliani effectively said that the President asked James Comey to give him a break. Listen to this.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: He didn't direct him to do that. What he said to him was can you give him a break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Comey said he took it as direction.

GIULIANI: Well, that's OK. He could have taken it that way. I mean, by that time he had been fired. And he said a lot of other things, some of which have turned out to be on untrue.

[17:30:00] The reality is, as a prosecutor, I was told that many times can you give a man a break, either by his lawyers, by his relatives, by friends, you take that into consideration, but, you know, that doesn't determine not going forward with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Give the man a break, that sort of contradict what is the President has said before, but ultimately Giuliani is making the argument that even if the President did make that suggestion to James Comey, it doesn't rise to the level of obstruction of justice.

He laid out some very serious demands of the Special Counsel this weekend, essentially arguing that Robert Mueller has to prove that he has the jurisdiction to pursue an obstruction of justice investigation, among several other things.

Effectively what Rudy Giuliani is doing is setting up a legal fight between the President's attorneys and the Special Counsel. He wants to make it so that Robert Mueller has to file a subpoena to try to compel the President to testify. Something he says he will fight in court. Ryan.

NOBLES: Boris Sanchez live in New Jersey. Boris, thank you for that report. As Boris said, President Trump has repeatedly denied that he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn. In fact, listen to what the President said just last May.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey in any way, shape, or form to close, or back down the investigation into Michael Flynn, and also as you...

TRUMP: No. No. Next question.


NOBLES: All right, let's talk about this. We bring in CNN legal and political commentator Ken Cuccinelli. He, of course, the former Virginia Attorney General, and Editor for The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol.

Ken, I need your legal opinion on this, Rudy Giuliani says that Trump's ask is not out of the ordinary, that when he was a prosecutor, family members and friends of defendants always asked him to go easy on people.

But this is the President of the United States talking to the director of the FBI not to prosecute one of his friends. Isn't that a little bit different than what Mayor Giuliani is talking about?

KEN CUCCINELLI, LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, certainly, it is different and the behavior isn't different, and I think the President is right in that it was structured as not an order as both sides describe it.

So the unusual feature you've zeroed in on, Ryan, is that he was the President at the time, talking to the FBI Director, but I don't think the request is all that unusual, particularly in light of what we now know of the Michael Flynn plea, frankly.

NOBLES: OK. Bill, it's been hard to tell at times whether or not Mayor Giuliani is going off script, or trying to get ahead of the news by making certain facts public. I mean, what do you think of all this? Is this just a PR game by Mayor Giuliani?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, I think he knows that President Trump has certain vulnerabilities. Things he's said publicly to the media that aren't going to be defensible absolutely. And he's been pretty clever.

I mean, each one of these looks like a gaffe, and there's a little embarrassment, and people like us say for a day or two that well, I thought he never requested that Flynn get a break, and guess what, he did made the request.

But you get these things out one by one, three or four -- every three or four weeks, by the time it actually comes out, which it could come out, but there's a patterned of this, and that the President hasn't been truthful, and why hasn't he been truthful if he doesn't have anything to hide, and all that.

I think they're hoping is people say, oh look, we knew that already. What's the big deal? So I actually do think Giuliani -- and he has said this (Inaudible), at least alluded to this, that he has a bit of a strategy of to letting these things go out bit by bit. This was very Clinton's strategy incidentally in 1998, leaking things that looked damaging to the president, but getting them out there enough that people got kind of used to it.

NOBLES: Yes, I wonder in the beginning, people are wondering if maybe they were getting ahead of themselves. We're clearly seeing a pattern here that he's continuing, so it makes you think that this is part of a broader strategy.

Now, Ken, this news comes out of a very critical two weeks for President Trump. Just take a look at what he had ahead of them. He has got the SCOTUS announcement tomorrow, then a NATO summit meeting.


NOBLES: He's got to also meet with the queen one on one, and then a meeting with Vladimir Putin. Now, we're told that President Trump wants to meet with Vladimir Putin alone with no advisers around him. Do you think that's a smart strategy for President Trump?

CUCCINELLI: No, I don't. But I think that's part of why he wants to do it is he wants to defy everybody else's expectations. I'd add one more item in there, Ryan. It is very likely that a Texas court is going to enjoin the DACA program this month in the case brought by the attorneys general including Ken Paxton of Texas, and five others, so that's going to reheat the immigration issue here at home while he's traveling abroad.

NOBLES: That's a very good point. And, Bill, I mean, getting back to Putin, why do you think President Trump wants to be alone with him? I mean, what's the benefit there?

KRISTOL: Ryan, just on Ken's point, that also had trade. It does seem to be the definition where Republicans in Congress are getting sufficiently worked up that you can imagine an actual attempt to move legislation that would take on the President's tariffs, so there are a heck of a lot of big issues facing the Trump administration, and the President personally, and also Republicans, and everyone else on the Hill.

[17:35:07] In terms of Putin, look, I worked for Vice President Quayle, and there were times when you would have a one on one meeting before the larger group came in. There is a translator (Inaudible), presumably, it was always regarded as a courtesy, you don't really want business to be done in the media without a reliable note taker, usually your national security adviser, or someone like that, so that you don't get in a position where one person walks out with either genuine misunderstanding, which could be damaging to the national interest.

Or someone like Putin taking advantage of something saying that Trump said this, Trump might say, oh no, I didn't, but meanwhile damage could have been done to our allies' confidence, and stuff, and so forth. So I would strongly -- I imagine John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are strongly recommending to the President that any one on one meeting be as short as possible, and as vague, and as general as possible.

NOBLES: Of course, we'll have to see if he takes that advice, if he is getting it, which isn't always necessarily a given.

KRISTOL: He always does that, Ryan. I mean, no problem.

NOBLES: Yes, no problem there. Ken, I know you're going to be watching tomorrow night when the President announces his Supreme Court pick is.


NOBLES: He actually just tweeted a few seconds ago that he's looking forward to making that decision at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow night. Still, holding his cards close to his vest. We kind of have an idea of who the four finalists are.

But, of course, everybody who is talking to our reporters says we don't know for sure until the words actually come out of his mouth. I mean, Ken, what are you looking for? Are you just looking for a conservative jurist, or are there some specific things that you are hoping to see in the president's pick?

CUCCINELLI: Well, certainly, I think the list is spectacular. I mean, there isn't a bad judge on it. So you start above the Kennedy level to begin with, regardless of who they pick, and their finalists are also excellent. I think there are people who have favorites, and concerns, and so forth.

I've expressed some concerns about Judge Kavanaugh recognizing he's an outstanding judge, but not as good as his competitors. I also think that putting my Senate conservative fund hat on where I try to help conservatives get into the Senate, Amy Barrett is an excellent midterm pick. When the Democrats still used the attack lines of the Republicans are

somehow against women, to have a woman nominee would be an excellent shield in that, and you don't give up any merit based concerns.

She's an excellent pick in her own right, so in an election year, she sort of gets an extra couple of points, if you will, compare to some of her competitors, she helps the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate in this election cycle in addition to being a great pick for the seat. It would be interesting if she was selected, we'd get a Scalia clerk pick for the Kennedy seat, and a Kennedy clerk pick for the Scalia seat, Justice Gorsuch.

NOBLES: All right. Bill, I'll give you the last word on this. I mean, you've been very critical of the President obviously, but if he picks another conservative judge, will you approve?

KRISTOL: Yes, it's a good list, I agree with Ken on that. I think I've talked to some people who talked to the President actually, or people close to the President, I think Kavanaugh will not get it. I you get he's a good judge, but he's a D.C. Circuit judge, a D.C. insider. Easy to attack on those grounds for Democrats to attack and doesn't really add anything.

I think -- I think the two judges in the Midwest, Hardiman, and Kethledge give you more of a kind of Gorsuch-like -- you know, people who didn't go to -- in their case, didn't go to Ivy League law schools, and all that, (Inaudible).

And I agree with Ken that I think Amy Barrett is -- would be a risky and daring pick, and has the highest upside as well politically, they are all good judges, but -- so I think the decision becomes a confirmation decision, and to some degree a 2018 election decision.

NOBLES: Interesting, both of you kind of picking Judge Barrett as the dark horse tomorrow night. We'll have to see what happens. Ken Cuccinelli, Bill Kristol, thank you for a perfect conversation, we appreciate you being on.

KRISTOL: Good to be with you.

NOBLES: All right. We have some breaking news into CNN. A woman exposed to a deadly Soviet-era nerve agent has died. We're going to have the details on this when we come back.


NOBLES: We have some breaking news just into CNN. A British woman exposed to novichok, the deadly chemical nerve agent with ties to Russia has died. Officials say Dawn Sturgess was poisoned along with her partner after handing a contaminated object. Her partner right now is still in critical condition.

Now, you'll recall that novichok is a chemical agent used earlier this year to poison an ex-Russian spy and his daughter who are living in the U.K. The British government has blamed Russia for that attack. I want to get straight now to CNN's Phil Black. He is live in London.

Now, Phil, Sturgess' death comes the same week as President Trump is expected to meet with the queen before heading to a one on one meeting with President Putin. Now, do police believe there is a link between these two cases?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): They do, Ryan. They haven't formally -- specifically identified it. But their working theory is that whatever item these two people handled, that it was contaminated by the same batch of novichok that was used in the attempted assassination of that former Russian intelligence service Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the town of Salisbury back in March. Now, that's their working theory.

Because what they had confirmed is that it is the same -- it is the same nerve agent. The same substance, but they have not yet specifically confirmed that it's the same substance -- it's from the same batch.

[17:45:00] And the really concerning thing is they still have not found the contaminated item that these two people handled about a week ago which resulted in their exposure, which resulted in them falling ill, and which has now resulted in the women, 44-year-Old Dawn Sturgess dying as a result of this exposure to a Russian weapons-grade nerve agent.

NOBLES: And, Phil, is there a sense there by authorities investigating this that these two new victims are just innocent bystanders that got caught up in the leftovers of this attack, or is there some type that perhaps they may have ties to Russia in some respect that could also make them targets?

BLACK: No. The theory seems to be that they are, in fact, innocent victims in all of this. They have no connection to Sergei and Yulia Skripal. They are British citizens, they are locals to the area of Salisbury.

They have simply no connection to the events that took place there earlier this year. So it does seem that it is a truly tragic side effect of that attempted assassination. It's also what makes all of this serious because you'll remember when this initial attack happened, and those two Russian citizens fell ill.

They've spent a long time in hospital, they eventually recovered, but there was a huge international reaction, the British diplomatic reaction is particularly strong, (Inaudible) and as a result, over 150 Russian diplomats from various countries, including the United States, were expelled, this is now a massive escalation in that whole saga, if you like.

Because what it means, the British position will be is that a British citizen has died as a direct result of a Russian chemical weapon being deployed on British territory.

There will be a great deal of outrage from the British government that this has happened because they were concerned all along that using such a serious indiscriminate weapon did, in fact, endanger the lives of British citizens, and it now proved that likely that it has done so only many months later when no doubt people here have thought the threat had passed. Ryan.

NOBLES: No doubt, Phil. And you laid out there very smartly this international situation now comes just ahead of not only President Trump visiting with the Prime Minister and the Queen there in the United Kingdom, but also meeting with Vladimir Putin. This will certainly be a topic of conversation. Phil Black, thank you for that update. We appreciate it.

And we continue to follow breaking news out of Thailand. We're awaiting the next phase of the rescue mission to evacuate the youth soccer team and their coach trapped inside a cave for more than two weeks now. Why rescuers say it is now or never.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her boyfriend just broke up with her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. That didn't happen. I'm sorry. I can't. Don't hate me. Wow. Brutal.


NOBLES: It's hard to believe but it's been 20 years since Carrie Bradshaw and the crew brought Cosmo's, and (Inaudible), and even Post- it note breakups into the cultural lexicon. And tonight, the new CNN original series The 2000s is hitting rewind on Sex and the City, and other shows that made waves during the decade.

Let's head out now to CNN's Kate Bennett. She has really tough assignment today. She is taking a break from her normal job covering the White House to go along on a Sex and the City bus tour. Kate, I didn't realize we are both in New York. You they did not invite me on this tour, I'm trying to not to be upset about that. Well, tell us -- I mean...

KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We wish you were here, Ryan. We wish you were here because we're having such a good time. That clip you played was when Carrie was with Berger, not one of her best relationships.

But now we're at Buddha con (ph), which is actually from the film, the Sex and the City movie, where she has her rehearsal dinner before her wedding to Mr. Big, so things get a little worse before they get better. But this is where she had her laugh, single girl kiss.

These are all the facts I'm learning on the Sex and the City bus tour. By the way, I'm a fan of the show, but now I'm really nitty-gritty becoming a fan of the show. And I have two fans who are on the tour with us today, Kelsey and Jackie. And they are a... UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carrie.


BENNETT: So, what prompted you guys to take this tour? Why are you -- are you big fans of the show?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, 100 percent. It's iconic.

BENNETT: And did you think -- when you watched the show, you use to said I'm more like Samantha, or you just like her look? Or how did that go down?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I think Samantha has aged the best of all of them. She's like a truly modern woman who is a little more like woke than the other girls. So that's why she's my favorite.

BENNETT: And you picked the flower, so throughout each season Carrie always had like a different accessory that she would feature. So this is -- you went flower.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The flower is an easy get. So, that was an easy iconic piece for Carrie.

BENNETT: Well, thanks, ladies. This is just our first stop on this tour, Ryan. We're going to be on for quite some time. We've already traveled on the bus from uptown to downtown, stopping, watching clips from the show. So we are really having a great time. Of course Sex and the City is part of the 2000's iconic popular culture. We'll see more of that airing tonight on CNN at 9:00 when the show premiers. Back to you.

NOBLES: All right, Kate. You'll be sad to know that I do not have a Sex and the City character that I personally identify with. So maybe that's something we can work on over the next three hours.

BENNETT: OK. Sounds good.

NOBLES: All right. Thanks, Kate. Take a look back at the decade that change TV, the CNN original series The 2000s that premiers tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.


NOBLES: You are in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ryan Nobles in tonight for Ana Cabrera. We are in New York. CNN's breaking news right now, a desperate and dangerous rescue mission finally gets under way overseas. And a sliver of good news comes out. It's not a celebration because there are many young lives that are still in grave danger. But four boys are now out of that cave in northern Thailand, rescued by expert divers.