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Trump Calls on NATO Allies; Protesters Awaits Trump's Visit; Sad Day for England, an Unexpected Win for Croatia. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 12, 2018 - 03:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: U.S. President Donald Trump's long awaited visit to London now just hours away as the prime minister and protesters by the thousands get ready to greet him. And Mr. Trump leaves his mark on NATO as U.S. allies reel at his new demands.

Plus, Croatia crushes England in a dramatic semifinal and finally head to their first ever World Cup final.

Hello to our viewers joining us from all around the world. And welcome to our special coverage of the U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Europe. I'm Max Foster, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Welcome to London, where the U.S. president will arrive in the coming hours. Parliament is right over there, Big bun -- Big Ben even covered up because it's being refurbished.

Now this will be one of the hot spots for protests over the next couple of days. Protests also expected at the ambassador's residence where security barriers are going up. The U.S. State Department is even warning Americans to keep a low profile here over the next few days.

We expect to see the co-called Trump baby blimp take flight over the streets around us. The project was crowd funded with nearly $40,000 donated so far. All that as the official visit finds that president's meeting Prime Minister Theresa May and having tea with the queen, no less.

Meantime, after an opening day of barrage and criticism of the NATO summit, President Trump is back online, complaining about allies, defense spending and trade. He's singled out Germany again, calling its reliance on Russian gas pipelines, unacceptable. It's more of the same lambasting that he delivered in person on Wednesday as Jim Acosta explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, everybody.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The legitimate media and the fake news media. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was unsettling scene in Brussels as President Trump picked a fight with NATO accusing longstanding allies and the decades' old partnership of taking advantage of U.S. military might.


TRUMP: Many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back where they're delinquent. No other president brought it up like I bring it up.


ACOSTA: In harsh language that has Europe fuming, the president lashed out on Twitter, asking, "What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?" A message he relayed to the NATO secretary-general.


TRUMP: If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia. Because they supply -- they got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it's something that NATO has to look at.


ACOSTA: The president seemed to surprise NATO by calling on alliance members to dramatically boost their defense spending to 4 percent of their GDP, double the NATO goal. The U.S. is at 3.5 percent while Germany is way behind at just at over 1 percent. The NATO secretary- general explained unity is also needed when it comes to standing up to Russia.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: When we stand together, also when dealing with Russia, we are stronger. I think what we have seen is that--


TRUMP: You're just making Russia richer.

We're having a great meeting. We're discussing military expenditure. We're talking about trade.


ACOSTA: For all the president's tough talk, he didn't raise the issue of Russian energy in front of the cameras with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

When Mr. Trump met with the French President, Emmanuel Macron made it clear he doesn't agree with the president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Macron, do you agree that Angela Merkel is beholden to the Russians?

TRUMP: I'm glad they asked you that.

Thank you. Thank you very much very for asking him that.




MACRON: We work together.


ACOSTA: Merkel, who grew up in East Germany during the Cold War insisted she understands Russian aggression all too well.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Because of current events, I want to add that I, myself, lived through a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union.


ACOSTA: The melodrama to NATO summit played out just days before Mr. Trump is set to hold critical talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president's sharp words for Germany appeared to be in response to criticism that he's too cozy with Putin, a tactic he's used before, dating back to the 2016 election.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president in the United States.


TRUMP: No puppet. You're the puppet.

CLINTON: And it's pretty clear that--


TRUMP: You are the puppet.


ACOSTA: Back in Washington, the president's rhetoric on NATO unnerved fellow Republicans. Some in the GOP were careful not to criticize the president.


PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: NATO is indispensable. It's as important today as it ever have been.


ACOSTA: And some weren't.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Sometimes it feels like we punch our friends in the nose and hold our hand out to people that are working strongly against us like Russia and Putin.


[03:05:01] ACOSTA: It's unclear how much the president will moderate his tone as he heads to Britain he'll meet with Prime Minister Theresa May who's also had a tense relationship with Mr. Trump at times.

The president's sense of decorum will be royally tested as he sits down with Queen Elizabeth, and then the stakes get much higher of course as he makes his way to Finland to hold that summit with Vladimir Putin.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Brussels, Belgium.

FOSTER: Donald Trump just arrived at NATO headquarters. Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson will join us in just a moment from Brussels.

But first we bring it to Brian Klaas, he's a fellow at comparative politics at the London School of Economics. He's also the author of "The Despot's Apprentice" and co-author of "How to Rig an Election."

It's a bit disconcerting, isn't it, responding to Donald Trump's tweets this early in the morning Europe -- but he's in Europe. And he's already tweeted this, "All NATO nations must meet their 2 percent commitment, and that must ultimately rise to 4 percent." He's referring to defense spending, in reference to NATO. I mean, these countries are struggling to get to 2 percent. What do you make of that?

BRIAN KLAAS, SENIOR FELLOW, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: It's a non- starter for European countries. He's calling for more than a doubling of military spending in Europe, which is astonishing, especially in a time of peace.

It's a moment that will divide NATO allies further. And it will create a really toxic political environment for a lot of these countries, because trying to get Germany, for example, to increase its spending from 1.2 percent of GDP to 4 percent, is just not something that is viable in German politics. It makes anti-American politicians more viable because they can say,

look, I'm standing up to Trump. And frankly, this level of defense spending is not popular in most European countries. So what I think is counterproductive about this strategy, is that he'll end up empowering those who try to stand up to America on the global stage, because the public appetite is simply not there for that level of defense spending.

FOSTER: Is it just rhetoric, though, as often is? Is he actually going to do anything about it, for example, reduce U.S. spending as a result?

KLAAS: I don't think so. This is the weird paradox about this, this is that Trump often boasts about military spending in the U.S., he boasted repeatedly on Twitter when $700 billion was past as the military budget in the U.S. is the largest defense spending budget ever. That was not true, but he boasted about it nonetheless.

And you know, this is a situation where again, the rhetoric actually matters. Because German politicians, French politicians, British politicians will now have to respond to this.

And going into the summit today, it could have been something where Trump praised Theresa May and said you are one of the few countries that has met the 2 percent goal. We applaud you.

And now instead it's about how Britain is also not doing enough. Because in reference to the 4 percent number, Britain falls to sort of short by half. So, you know, this will create another diplomatic headache for 10 Downing Street and also for the divide NATO allies against the president.

FOSTER: We're here in Westminster because huge demonstrations are predicted by the demonstrators here in Westminster tomorrow. Also some by the ambassador's residence in Regent's Park today, which is where Donald Trump will be flying into later on.

Some criticism of the blimp this, you know, quite insulting -- image of Donald Trump, which is some people argue is going up over Westminster. I know that you're supportive of it. Is that correct?

KLAAS: Well, I'm not.

FOSTER: Do you think it's acceptable?

KLAAS: I'm not specifically supportive of the blimp necessarily, I'm just saying that this is part of normal democracy. You have protests, peaceful protests, it must be said, as part of foreign visits all the time. When you have the G7 summit, you have mass protests. When you have foreign leaders visit any country that is a democracy, you have protests.

And I think that even if you disagree with the content of the protest, you should celebrate the fact that they're allowed to exist and they're part of the democratic process. FOSTER: What if they turn violent? I mean, we're not predicting any

violence and they're not expected to be violent, but they could work against themselves if they don't remain peaceful, right?

KLAAS: Absolutely. I mean, that's why I said peaceful protest is a hallmark of democracy, violent protest is not and we should not accept it. And anybody who engaged in that should be loudly denounced.

FOSTER: If Theresa May can get through today without any sort of confrontations with Donald Trump, she could be focusing, isn't she, tomorrow on trade and the relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. There's a problem there though, because her Brexit strategy doesn't actually allow, does it, for a U.S. trade deal?

KLAAS: Not initially at least. And makes it very difficult even after the deal is completed if it were to be completed. There are a lot of people in the conservative party who hope that it's a quick and easy trade deal with the United States would be forthcoming. I think that was naive from the beginning and I think it looks downright absurd right now.

Because not only is the Brexit strategy not panning out the way that 10 Downing Street had hoped with several resignations this week, but also Donald Trump has shown that he's willing to engage in trade wars. And by the time that the U.K. actually formally exits the European Union after this sort of interim agreement, the transition period happens, Donald Trump might not even be president.

So, you know, this is a big question that the U.K. has to grapple with, is, is Donald Trump an aberration or is he the new normal of American politics? And the strategic decisions they make both on trade and security will have to be informed by that assessment of how permanent this shift in American politics is.

[03:09:58] FOSTER: OK Brian, thank you. We're going to cross to Nic now who is in Brussels. Nic, you've had a couple of tweets from Donald Trump already today. How is that going to set the tone do you think ahead of these meetings?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think he created the big waves yesterday, didn't he, Max. And the tweets are pretty much a follow-on from that. He's not letting go of this Germany issue, he's clearly sort of going after Angela Merkel. It's quite a personal thing, it seems to be, and that's as much to do with trade, as it is to do with Russia, as it is to do with NATO.

He's got the bit between his teeth. And also I think he sees Angela Merkel as a big central strong European leader still despite the domestic troubles that she has, and the person who is sort of the powerhouse behind the European Union, which is an organization he really doesn't like to deal with, and doesn't have a huge amount of respect for.

So, I think the surprises and shocks came yesterday, the communique is out. So President Trump getting up this morning after a break of about six hours on his Twitter feed and getting back at it, not going to surprise anyone.

And you know, at least one official I talk to here, a NATO official who had some knowledge of what it was like behind the scenes yesterday, told me that it hadn't been quite as bad as everyone had expected, Max.

FOSTER: In terms of what he's got lined up today, what are you looking at? I mean, there's a different set of meetings today, isn't it? $ as you say those tweets are intimating he's going to go back to what he was messaging yesterday.

ROBERTSON: Sure. I mean, I think the meetings today, Azerbaijan, the president of Azerbaijan, the president of Ukraine, the president of Romania, remembering the U.S. has got, you know, aircraft and missile defense system based in Romania that was put in fairly recently, over the past couple of years.

So those countries that he's meeting with today, the presidents of those countries are really looking for U.S. bilateral support against the threat of Russia. So for President Trump, this is sort of important positioning and messaging that will clearly be seen by the Kremlin and President Putin who is going to meet with on Monday next week.

So you know, what he'll hear in those meetings with those -- bilateral meetings with those presidents is probably request for more support, which is something he has, the United States has been giving in particular to Ukraine. So I think that's the nature of the morning for President Trump, those meetings, assurances to those countries, that whatever he says to President Putin is not going to cut across their interests, the United States still has their back.

And of course, with a President Trump presidency, there's always that concern that you don't quite know how the meeting is going to go, or what the president is going to say, because he goes off script. But I think that's what we're looking at this morning, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nic, thank you.

After Brussels, after London, President Putin will travel to Helsinki, Finland, for what he's said might be the easiest part of his European tour with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

U.S. allies are worried a rosy meeting with Mr. Putin could stand in sharp contrast to the discord between the United States and its long- time partners.

CNN's senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is live for us this hour in Moscow. This ended things, Fred, everyone is saying that these sets of meetings work for anyone; they're working for the Russian president. What's the view from there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, to a certain extent, they probably are, but on other things, I think that the Russians are feeling that President Trump is someone who is actually pretty hard to figure out. I think on the one hand, they are seeing that that statement that

President Trump made before actually going on this trip, that the meeting with Vladimir Putin may be the easiest one on his itinerary.

I think they're now seeing that could well be true after the fireworks that the Russian saw there at NATO. It was interesting to see on state-run TV, there were some commentators who were seeing that never would they have imagined how much damage President Trump would be doing to the NATO alliance.

Obviously that's something that many commentators here and also the Kremlin are not too unhappy to see. They say, we have nothing to do with the turmoil at NATO. But at the same time the Russians obviously have been very critical of NATO for a long time, have said that they believe it infringes on Russia and it's moving closer to Russia's borders, and therefore they have a very negative view of that alliance and are not too unhappy to see the fireworks and some of the criticisms that you've seen there.

On the other hand, though, Russia does still have a trade relationship with Europe, and particularly with Germany. And therefore, those comments by President Trump about that gas pipeline, the Nord Stream II, is not something the Kremlin necessarily wants to hear.

And we've been speaking to Russian official and they say, look, this is not a political project. This is something that's very important obviously to the Russians. Their economy still very much dependent on oil and natural gas.

So therefore that's a part where they do see that there could be some serious problems between Vladimir Putin and President Trump.

[03:14:59] But at the same time, obviously seeing the rhetoric that they're seeing from President Trump there in Brussels, they do believe that the tone will be a lot easier when the two men, President Putin and Trump meet in Helsinki, rather than what they've been seeing on this trip so far, Max.

FOSTER: In terms of the optics here, what do you think is the view of the Kremlin here? Is it important that the two presidents be seen to get on and to be coming closer, or is it important for President Putin to stand up to Donald Trump and have to assert himself in those photo calls?

PLEITGEN: I think a little bit of both, I think it's very important for the two men to get along, for there to be good optics and for generally the meeting to go in a fairly smooth way. But I do think that you'll also see President Putin stand up to President Trump. And after all he is someone who's been at a lot of these types of meetings in the past and has had some very tough negotiations in the past.

And I also think that a lot of commentators here in Russia, Max, are going to be looking at the optics of the Putin/Trump meeting versus what we've seen at NATO. For instance, that turmoil between President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, I think it's something it's very important that the Russians are going to be taking a look at very, very closely, especially since Angela Merkel was seen or is seen as a chancellor who is far more pro-American than she would be gravitating towards the Russians.

And so, therefore, the Russians are going to take a very close look at the optics of Helsinki as well, Max.

FOSTER: Fred, we're just looking at live pictures of President Trump arriving at NATO headquarters for another set of meetings today. Obviously the focus here, very much on the European allies. You've obviously spent a lot of time in Berlin. You've studied Merkel's career very closely, indeed.

A very difficult set of meetings for her. How do you think she's handled it and how do you think she will handle any more criticism today? It's already come through on Twitter from Donald Trump.

PLEITGEN: Yes, I think -- you know, I think, Max, you know, Angela Merkel obviously has been in a lot of trouble domestically, politically in Germany over the past couple of weeks, the past couple of months, especially because of her immigration policy.

I think the past day and a half that we've seen, especially with that criticism with President Trump, is going to boost her within Germany and possibly within Europe as well.

I mean, what we've seen is her obviously taking a lot of heat from Vladimir Putin -- from Donald Trump, excuse me. But he's obviously very unpopular, not just in Germany but also in a lot of other European countries as well. So that's something where I think that could give her a boost politically just by standing up to him and saying, look, Germany is going to have an independent trade policy.

On the other hand, if you look at Germany, President Trump does have a point when he says, look, they really haven't been spending enough on defense. The people always talk about that goal of spending 2 percent on defense, that is one thing, but obviously it's also about creating an army.

And if you look at the German military, it really is in a very, very bad state, where the Germans are having a lot of trouble meeting their NATO commitments. And I think that's something where she's going to hear from other NATO members as well. And certainly something that Germany will have to address in the future, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Fred, thank you very much indeed. Brian Klaas now joining us as we watch Donald Trump walking through NATO headquarters.

He hasn't been as assertive in this sort of media moments as he often is. He was standing back a bit actually yesterday, I don't know if you notice when he was with the other leaders. But here we see him in front of the cameras, he's focused on the cameras again. What do you think about his media appearances during his visit to Europe so far?

KLAAS: Well, he hasn't stopped in the way that a lot of the NATO leaders do with the press gaggles. You know, he has an adversarial relationship with the press to put it mildly. And yesterday in his opening remarks he referred to the fake news again, lambasting the press on foreign soil.

So, you know, I think he's keeping a low profile in the sort of press gaggle moments.


KLAAS: And then throwing the grenades in the actual events and saying to European leaders directly, you know, quite incendiary and insulting things.

FOSTER: That's a new strategy, isn't it? A relatively new one for him?

KLAAS: Well, you know, I mean, one of the things that Trump does very often, is he doesn't have these sort of, one-on-one press moments. He has fewer solo press conferences than virtually every president in post World War II history.

And a significant decrease from the past several presidents. But he has these little moments where he--


FOSTER: At the doorstep--

KLAAS: Exactly, exactly when he's walking to the helicopter he'll say something, or in moments when he's in meetings he'll say something. So, you know, I think that this is not that surprising. And I think that the news that's being made inside the summit is sufficient--


KLAAS: -- and probably too much in some ways for NATO and the European allies to stomach, let alone at the press conference.

FOSTER: OK. Brian, thank you very much indeed.

Donald Trump arriving at NATO headquarters for a new set of meetings. We'll be reporting on every twist and turn, including his arrival to London later on this afternoon.


FOSTER: That was the electrifying moment, at least for Croatians as they saw their team inch their first ever trip to the World Cup final after beating England 2-1 on Wednesday in Moscow.

The three-line scored early, but couldn't add to that, and Croatia were finally able to level in the second half before grabbing the winner in extra time on Sunday. On Sunday, rather, Croatia face France in the final. The French last won the tournament in 1998.

Let's cross to CNN world sport anchor Patrick Snell live in Atlanta. Do we really have to dwell on this, Patrick?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORT ANCHOR: Well, Max, for England fans it is a huge disappointment, no question. But for Croatia, it is history in the making. The Croatian national team have reached their first ever World Cup final.

And what's really impressive about this when I reflect upon it, they've done it in just their fifth tournament since becoming an independent nation. The three lines sell off to a great start in this game.

It took the lead after five minutes a super strike from Kieran Trippier from the free kick sublimely struck into the back of the net for 1-nil England.

You know the talk of Croatia supposedly being physically and emotionally jaded in this one? Certainly wasn't the case after a few recent penalty shoot-out victories. Even Perisic acrobatically leveling for them in the second half, going to be outstanding into the (Inaudible) almost putting his team ahead, but his effort grazing the wood work there.

The match though, would be settled in extra time, Perisic of course involve two else with a header ruthlessly finished off by Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic. Super Mario in the 109th minute of this match. The Croatian manager. Zlatko Dalic a massive career moment. Heartbreak for the English and their young squad. Their hopes were so high, won't they, ahead of the semis.

At Croatia's footballers though, were busy writing their own special piece of history.


ZLATKO DALIC, MANAGER, CROATIA FOOTBALL TEAM (through translator): They've shown character. When we started our preparation six weeks ago, I insisted on that in particular and I said it publicly. I cannot teach these players football. They played fantastic football.

As the tournament progressed, they've gained confidence, they are stronger than I am in terms of mentality, psychological strength. I've said this tournament will be won by a team with character, who execute on the pitch what their coach tells them.


[03:25:08] SNELL: It's a great achievement as well. What Dalic has overseen. He only took over the national team late last year and his impact pretty quickly felt too. The Croatians qualified for Russia 2018 following a playoff victory over Greece.

The 51-year-old during his time he managed the UAE's Al-Ain for three seasons before he actually took them to the Asian Champions League final during that spell back in 2016. Now it's the World Cup final for him to look for against the French on Sunday in Moscow.

France the 1998 winners, then confirmation they'll be facing Croatia on Sunday seeking to win their second title as the Croatians will be going all out for their first. You know, they really are brimming with confidence and motivation too, the Croatian players.

And a really interesting nugget. After the game, Luka Modric, one of their many star players telling revealing that the win over the three united spell like it was inspired by even some sections of English media who he claimed he felt had underestimated his country and that that served as encouragement for the victory. Really interesting insight there from Luka Modric.

I want to head out to Zagreb and join Hrvoje Kresic, a reporter for CNN's affiliate station N-1. A few hours for this all to sink in, the carnival party atmosphere overnight. What's it been like and what does achievement mean to the people of Croatia?

HRVOJE KRESIC, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, N1: Well, I can't tell you how everybody happy is because of this victory. Few have dared to actually expect this, well, many have expected but few have actually dared to believe that it's possible for Croatia to reach finals.

Every generation that appears after 1998 is always in the shadow of that result, result of 1998, when Croatia was third in the world and when this generation reached semifinals, everybody believed that was basically it. Although many have hoped that maybe they can reach the finals.

This generation was always a bit doubted whether they can deliver on the big stage. And when they actually have delivered, and this is for the third time, that they have been coming from behind, that they have conceded a goal early in the stage of the game, and then they -- that they have been mentally strong and able to bear the pressure and to come back in the game.

Because of that, the feeling is great. Everybody has celebrated late in the night. I guess many yesterday will call in sick because I've seen streets lit with flares, cars honking, et cetera, in 5 a.m., 6:00 a.m.

SNELL: Yes, the party atmosphere continuing right through the night. That's pretty forward a little bit look ahead to Sunday's final against the French. What will be key for this Croatian team to beat the French national team, do you feel?

KRESIC: Well, to keep ongoing. Obviously, they just have to keep on going, and they have to try and hope that they won't be seeing another Lilian Thuram the generation from 1998 has seen. Lilian Thuram famousy played I think over 150 games for France, for French football team and scored only twice in his international career, both goals scored against Croatia in those semi finals in 1998.

I guess they hope that no player will be having such a day on Sunday, and that they hope that they will be able to deliver their vision. I believe personally that Croatia has still much to offer, that we haven't seen all of their capabilities, especially from its midfielder, almost famous now with Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. If they can win the game in the midfield, I think Croatia still has much to offer. SNELL: Yes, outstanding tone there. Hrvoje Kresic, many thanks for

joining us, we really appreciate your time today. We're going to send it right back to Max in London.

FOSTER: Patrick, thank you very much, indeed. We're in London and President Trump is due to arrive here tonight. We'll brace for him, we'll brace for the protests, probably going to be twists and turns here on CNN.


MAX FOSTER, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back, I'm Max Foster. Let us update you on our top stories this hour, in the unlikely event his points from NATO summit might be lost, President Trump is reiterating his complaints on Twitter. He just arrive on the second day meeting before getting there, he tweeted more criticism on allies' defense spending and trade practices, and also called Germany's reliance on Russian energy unacceptable.

An emotional reunion meanwhile in Thailand, even separated from glass as those rescued boys are seeing their parents for the first time in weeks. Doctors say, most of them should be out of hospital though in about a week. A new video shows divers bringing the boys through the caves flooded narrow passages.

The Trump administration implementing a tough new policy that could keep thousands of immigrants out of the United States. Those claiming asylum for fear of gangs or domestic violence will now be rejected immediately. And even though through legitimate fears or persecution could be turn away if they cross the border illegally.

We are here in London, where the next few hours President Trump will be arriving. He'll be meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and in a statement, she said there's no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the United States. Of course Mr. Trump's visit comes after rather contentious meetings with NATO allies in Brussels. He'll be met with the pomp, you'd expect for a world leader, but London also gearing up for massive protests, barriers going up around the ambassador's residence, and tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected on the streets around parliament here.

Victoria Hewson joins us now, she is senior counsel of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institution of Economic Affairs. Institute, rather. I got it wrong. Apologies. Quite a tongue twister. First of all, we've heard Trump tweeting today he doesn't just want NATO allies to reach 2 percent on defense spending, he wants them to reach 4 percent which a lot of them would say it is completely undoable. What do you think of that view there?

VICTORIA HEWSON, SENIOR COUNSEL, INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND COMPETITION UNIT, INSTITUTION OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: I think the 4 percent is a bit unrealistic. However, the point that many European countries are not missing their 2 percent commitment is well made. And also the point that Germany is seriously dependent on Russia for its energy supplies is well made. FOSTER: And Germany hostage to Russia, though?

HEWSON: I wouldn't go that far, but there is a tension there between investing and defending Germany against Russia while Germany is actively building up its energy dependence on Russia at the same time. So, you know, it's a complicated picture.

FOSTER: NATO allies says, they are now committed to the 2 percent figure and they will get there in a few years' time. Do you think if they don't, Donald Trump should perhaps consider the amount of U.S. funding of NATO and on defense?

HEWSON: Well, let's be clear. The 2 percent is a target, and it's independent by a treaty. And the European NATO members are still committed to reaching that target in the 2020s. For Trump to consider withdrawing from NATO it's quite a complicated process. It's not an executive power in the United States.

FOSTER: So talk of that is academic, as far as you're concerned?

[03:35:00] HEWSON: I wouldn't say it's academic, but it's a complicated picture.

FOSTER: His next stop will be London. Of course, we mentioned earlier on, this blimp that is going up, you know, a pretty insulting image actually of him as a baby and holding his phone with small hands. Do you think that is lowering the debate, or do you think as by processing earlier, it should be allowed, because it's a demonstration of democracy?

HEWSON: I wouldn't argue that it shouldn't be allowed. It's a free country and people are free to ridicule and satirize politicians. I wouldn't particularly want to be involved in it myself, and I think it's counterproductive. I think it's the kind of thing that rallies the Trump supporters. You know, it builds up this conspiracy theory of the liberal elite that are against American interests.

So from that perspective, it's counterproductive. It's hypocritical, we've had all kinds of world leaders visiting this country from countries which have much worse human rights records, and you know, records of dictatorship and tyranny. And I don't really recall seeing any substantial protests against them.

FOSTER: And could the protest backfire if they become too much, if they turn violent? What are your concerns about the protests?

HEWSON: I don't think they will turn violent. I certainly hope they won't. However, the risk is that it becomes a distraction from the real issues that the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for international trade, Liam Fox, really need to be discussing with President Trump over the next couple days.

FOSTER: You say that because she is focusing obviously on trade with her statement last night, but has she undermined her trade argument when her new Brexit strategy pretty much does away with possibility of doing a trade deal with the U.S. outside the E.U.? HEWSON: Well, on the face of it, number 10 still claims that an

independent trade policy is possible under this new model. That was outlined at Chequers last week, and it specifically references for example exceeding to these GDP. However, the reality, what's called a common rubic, but what is in reality, the U.K. adopting wholesale the European Union's rules, it makes it very difficult to progress meaningful trade agreements.

It's both a challenge and opportunity in free trade agreement, but also the customs plan, while in theory we would have authority over our tariffs, which is a particular interest of President Trump, the reality of the way that this new customs arrangement has been expressed is that I expect most third countries would be very skeptical to the value they would get from agreeing tariffs with the United Kingdom, under this very complicated model.

FOSTER: So, you know, and certainly in terms of his messaging, Donald Trump doesn't really do complicated, does he, but they have substantial talks tomorrow at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence. What do you think he is going to make of the debate he is going to have with Theresa May, who he is not a particular fan of right now, is he? He is by the way, she talks to her basically.

HEWSON: Well, I think their relationship seems to get quite a warm beginning when the Prime Minister visited the President in Washington. Things do seem to have thawed. President Trump has made overtures toward meeting Boris Johnson, who's just resigned from the cabinet, which is a little bit controversial. You know, the U.S. is still our closest ally, our biggest single trading partners in goods and services?

You know, whatever happens with the E.U. exit that will continue. The unfortunate thing would be if we'd embarked on this process of scoping out and pursuing a free trade agreement there was a joint working group set up that has been working on the preliminary stages of an FTA, it would be a shame if that all went to waste which as you say (inaudible) in what was in the Chequers statement.

FOSTER: Then we can respond to whatever grenades he throws at us on Twitter later on when he arrives, but he is a fan of the U.K., his a fan of -- he's mum was a fan of the queen. He'll be meeting the queen as well tomorrow. So there are lots to cover, we will bring it all to you.

For the other stories we are following. We are getting our first look at the divers rescuing those young boys from the cave in Thailand. Extraordinary video, showing the narrow passages, muddy water and the jagged rocks. In the steepest places, the boys had to be hoisted in the air by pulleys. All 12 boys and their coach are recovering now in hospital. Some got to see their parents for the first time in weeks on Wednesday, separated by a glass window though. CNN's Arwa Damon spoke with the youngest boy's father about this horrific ordeal.


ARWA DAMON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: To imagine what these boys endured and to finally see them safe. Some signal "I love you" to their parents, watching, waving and weeping behind protective glass.

[03:40:00] Titon as he is nicknamed is just 11, the youngest of the rescued boys. He puts his hands together, gesturing hello, as he realizes his parents are there. We met Titon's exhausted father a few hours later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I was so happy in that moment. All I wanted to do was hug him, but I couldn't because of the glass. I started to cry, everybody started to cry. I feel glad to see my boy still healthy. I'm happy to see his face, because I had not seen his face for 17 days.

DAMON: The last night they spent together, they were watching the World Cup. The innocence of that moment, now gone. To cope, they drew strength from the support of those around them. Titon's younger brother imagined a fairy tale story of a mountain and that his brother was just on a long journey. Reality could not have been further than that.

Newly released dramatic video from inside the cave helps to illustrate how complex and delicate the rescue mission was, the winding, dark, narrow passages, how there was no room for error. So much could have gone wrong. Its success, a testament to the professionalism of those involved, and what unity can accomplish.

Titon was the last boy to come out just before the coach. He was the one who wrote to his parents not to worry and that he just wanted to eat fried chicken when he comes out.

Are you worried about the psychological effect this is going to have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I worry, but just wait and see. After the boy gets back home, I will see whether he can stay at home alone in the dark by himself.

DAMON: Knowing what he knows of his kind and gentle son, he thinks that Titon will feel guilty and apologetic. This was drawn by Tanawat's cousin. The image of the former Thai navy seal who lost his life, encircled by 13 messages from each of the families.

DAMON: This one is from you and your family. And what does it say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): Sam is our hero for our family forever. We will not forget.

DAMON: And Tanawat has this pledge to everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I will teach him to grow up a good person and help society. And I will let him follow his dreams.

DAMON: Dreams that came so close to being stolen. Arwa Damon, CNN, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

(END VIDEO) FOSTER: Good to see them well.

When we come back, how a larger than life blimp will welcome President Trump to London.


FOSTER: One of Japan's deadliest natural disasters in years has now killed at least 195 people. Heavy rain and flooding hit cities in a matter of hours late last week. Thousands of responders could face more dangers in the days ahead as Paula Newton reports.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The search goes on in flood-ravaged parts of southwest Japan. Several people are still unaccounted for and every day rescuers declare more lives lost. The rescue operation is now 75,000 strong, involving police and the defense force. The rain that wreaked havoc and brought so much heartbreak has now stopped, but there are still risks, damaged infrastructure complicates the rescue efforts, and there's the possibility of more deadly landslides.

Here in one of Japan's hardest hit prefectures, Hiroshima, a river clogged with debris overflows Tuesday morning, forcing yet another round of evacuations. 23,000 more people told to immediately leave their homes. Cancelling an overseas trip, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the devastated areas, he met with people who'd been forced to take shelter at an evacuation center.

The rising waters forced two million people from their homes. Thousands of houses are damaged, thousands more still without power. Here in Okayama prefecture, life as it once was is at a standstill. Operations at a Mitsubishi and Panasonic factory were temporarily halted. Smaller businesses too, can only begin to pick up the pieces. Paula Newton, CNN.



FOSTER: Big Ben or the tower that holds Big Ben being restored at the moment as you can see, in just a few hours President Trump will leave the NATO meeting in Brussels and head here to London. While still in the U.K., he'll have talks with the Prime Minister, tea with the queen. It will be an official state visit. It won't be an official state visit, rather. A working visit with both some pomp and some protests as well though. Activists have been planning this visit for months now. And the highlight seems to be a giant baby Trump balloon. Here is Erin McLaughlin on that.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This isn't the dignified welcome that a U.S. President visiting London has come to expect. A giant balloon, a caricature of Donald Trump as a baby. Organizers say it was inspired by the President's Twitter account.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's clear from Donald Trump's tweets and apart from anything else, is that he is a deeply insecure individual about his own personal shortcomings. And so we decided that what we need to do was get right down on Donald Trump's level and speak to him in a language that he understands, which is personal insults. We had to do something which we knew him and the rest of the world, and our own government, could not miss.

MCLAUGHLIN: It's hard to miss the so-called Trump baby blimp. Each element designed to mock and make fun.

[03:50:00] The orange hued skin, the yellow bouffant hair, the tiny hands gripping the cell phone ready to tweet. The London mayor Sadiq Khan, an outspoken Trump critic, cleared it to fly in the name of free speech, a move not everyone agrees with. Piers Morgan tweeted if Obama was still President and someone suggested flying a giant black baby balloon over parliament, Sadiq Khan would brand it racist and dissented and stop it. This Trump balloon is a hypocritical disgrace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think when his detractors go after him, it makes him double down, and it actually encouraging him to keep going and to prove everybody wrong. So, I think that is the effect of the balloon will have.

MCLAUGHLIN: But campaigners say this is not just about Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether he sees it, whether he reacts to it, we don't really care. It's about lifting the spirits of the nation. And it's already doing that, you know, it is just putting smiles on the faces of people who had started to despair about the state of politics.

MCLAUGHLIN: The blimp was crowd funded, nearly $40,000 so far. Organizers say the money will be used to get the blimp on the road, so that wherever Donald Trump goes, a giant baby balloon is sure to follow. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


FOSTER: It's a baby, giant baby balloon as well. We can tell you about that in a moment. Our next guest is Asad Rehman, he is an organizers of the anti-Trump protests here in London. Thank you for joining us. You co-authored this editorial didn't you from "The Guardian," which we are going to share it to the viewers, writing in part, it's imperative that we use Trump's visit to the U.K. as an opportunity to demonstrate the strong resistance here to the heinous policies of his administration. We must use it to build allowed interceptional anti-racism and pro-migrant rights movement in the U.K. that will not shy away from naming fascists for what they are and will not whitewash the politics of hate, racism, and misogyny. Donald Trump sides, certainly Donald Trump would, you know, dispute any accusation of racism, for example. Are you calling him that? I mean, what's the accusation here? Because this is, I think this is inflammatory. ASAD REHMAN, MEMBER, STOP TRUMP COALITION: I think he is damaged

himself with his own words. I mean, he of course in the American primaries, he targets Mexicans, calling them criminals and rapists, he normalized the far right of Charlottesville, they called them both --

FOSTER: Illegal immigrants, you know, he didn't call all Mexicans rapist.

REHMAN: Well, I think the politics of what he is doing has an echo across Europe as well. The targeting of migrants, the normalization of Islamophobia and the Muslim ban, and of course, but this has never been about an individual man, as despicable or as horrendous he may be individually, this is about the policies and politics he represents and that is why we're protesting. Because those policies and politics have an echo right across Europe with the rise of the far right and extremist policies, both parties all playing the same game, all blaming migrants, all blaming Muslim communities, shifting attention away, and normalizing this politics.

FOSTER: That is where I can question you, though.


FOSTER: Because a lot of people would agree in terms of, you know, the policies and being against that, and how, you know, there's a right to democracy here of course. You're saying it's not about the man, but actually this balloon is deeply personal and insulting according to Trump supporters.

REHMAN: Well, Donald Trump is one of the most powerful man in the world, he holds a very powerful position and he used that powerful position to attack and denigrate his opponents, to attack and denigrate vulnerable people. We all know he is a thin-skinned and narcissistic person so it's a very fitting response.

FOSTER: But you're trying to provoke the individual, when really should be challenging the policies of the state --

REHMAN: We are challenging the policies of the states.

FOSTER: You are attacking him personally, you know, a blimp with small hands and looking like a baby, you wouldn't do this for any other state visit, would you?

REHMAN: Well, actually we are very creative in our protests and it's a very British response, because we know that actually would irritate Donald Trump, but more importantly, it draws his attention to the fact that he came here wanting a state visit. He wanted the red carpet to be rolled out. He wanted the pictures with the queen.

FOSTER: And that is still planned.

REHMAN: Well, actually, twice his visit has been canceled and now he is having to be hidden away.

FOSTER: It has not been cancelled. They set the state visit is planned, we haven't set the date yet. So that is not true. This is a working visit.

REHMAN: Yes. The original invitation if you remember from our Prime Minister was for a state visit.

FOSTER: Yes, and that is still planned.

REHMAN: And we will see when that happens.

FOSTER: But it's not right to say it's canceled. I have to bring you up on that. There's a state visit planned and no date has been set for that. This is a working visit, it is a separate thing. So, it's not canceled.

REHMAN: So his first visit he wanted to be a state visit.

FOSTER: How do you know that? The White House has never said that.

REHMAN: When the invitation if you remember when Theresa May went to the United States --

[03:55:00] FOSTER: It was a state visit. And that is still planned. This is a separate visit.

REHMAN: And the scale of the opposition here in the U.K. made that impossible. It made him being in central London impossible.

FOSTER: Well, you're making major accusations here. And having, you know worked very closely on this and speaking to the state department and to Buckingham Palace and to Downing Street, the state visit is one thing, it is still planned, it hasn't been withdrawn and he hasn't canceled anything. This is a separate working visit.

REHMAN: Let's see when the state visit happens.

FOSTER: Yes. Exactly. Maybe he is concerned about the protests. In terms of what we expect to see today, how many people do you expect to come out and what sort of groups do they represent? It's not one single group, is it?

REHMAN: No. The overwhelming majority of British people and all the opinion polls have shown that they do not welcome Donald Trump here. This is a very broad coalition of people, from very ordinary people, we got people who have never been on a protest before coming out, families, individuals, we have got human rights groups, environmental groups, groups working on poverty and migrant rights. It's a real cross-section of British society.

We expect hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets tomorrow, there are nine simultaneous protests planned across the country, a major demonstration here in London, and the following day, a demonstration also planned in Scotland when he'll be going up to play golf.

FOSTER: Are you concerned he won't see it, because he is flying between locations? I supposed he is not travelling by road. REHMAN: Well, one of the reasons why he is flying between locations

is of course, because of the scale of the protests, but we're aware this is a man who notoriously follows Twitter, so I'm sure he'll be seeing and hearing the sound of the demonstration and sending a very powerful signal to him.

FOSTER: Just briefly on the balloon, there is a small one as well, right, it's a big one and a small one?

REHMAN: Well, there's a big blimp that will go up tomorrow at Parliament Green. And then there will be a much smaller one which will be on the demonstration.

FOSTER: OK. We'll see how it all goes. Thank you very much for joining us today.

REHMAN: Thank you.

FOSTER: thank you as well. I'm Max Foster. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. Stay with us. We'll be back with more CNN Newsroom in just a moment live near Westminster.