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The Trump-Putin Summit Will Continue; Indictments Against Russian Military Officers are Released; Trump Visits the Queen Surrounded by the Sounds of Protests; Pakistan Elections Riddled With Continuing Political Turmoil; Wimbledon Continues - Anderson Advances; Croatia and France Gear up for World Cup Final. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired July 14, 2018 - 05:00:00   ET


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Fake names, stolen passwords and bitcoin. A jaw-dropping indictment of 12 Russian agents as the U.S. President prepares to meet with his Russian counterpart. Plus Donald Trump has a long history of commenting on Royals so how did he do taking tea with the Queen. Also ahead this hour, the boys and the coach rescued from the cave in Thailand. They can go home later this week. We'll hear some of the individual messages they're now sending out in thanks. Live, from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. We want to welcome our views here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell, the "CNN Newsroom" starts right now.

At 5:00 a.m. on the U. S. East Coast, the latest stop on President Trump's European tour is Scotland. Mr. Trump is spending time there, the weekend, at one of his golf resorts. This ahead of a big summit on Monday with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. That meeting, however, just became a little more complicated.

On Friday the U.S. Justice Department unloaded a bombshell in the Russia investigation, indicting 12 Russian military officers accusing them of hacking into computers belonging to the Democratic Party and the campaign of Hillary Clinton back in 2016. U.S. officials say their goal was to hurt Clinton's chances of being elected. President Trump routinely dismisses the investigation as a witch hunt without merit. Still he says that he will bring it up when he speaks with Vladimir Putin on Monday. Jessica Schneider has more details of the indictment.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twelve Russian intelligence officers are charged with hacking into the email servers of the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign plus stealing U.S. voter data during the 2016 election.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY U. S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We know according to the allegations in the indictment, the goal of the conspirators was to have an impact in the elections.


SCHNEIDER: The 29-page indictment details how the Russians targeted more than 300 people associated with Democratic campaign committees and the Hillary Clinton campaign. This was the email Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta received telling him to click a link to change his password, a technique known as spear fishing. Podesta did allowing the Russian officers to steal his username, password, and emails.

Prosecutors allege these Russian officers hacked into several accounts stealing thousands of emails.


ROSENSTEIN: The defendants hack into computer networks and install malicious software that allowed them to spy on user and capture keystrokes, take screenshots and exfiltrate or remove data from those computers.


SCHNEIDER: And to distribute the stolen emails. The Indictment says the Russian registered the domain's DC Leaks and then Guccifer 2.0 and used the network of computers around the world including here in the U.S. funding their scheme like cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.


ROSENSTEIN: The defendants falsely claimed that DC Leaks was a group of American hackers and that Guccifer 2.0 was a lone Romanian hacker.


SCHNEIDER: Rosenstein stressed that none of the Americans targeted knew they were communicating with the Russians.


ROSENSTEIN: The conspirators corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the internet. There's no allegation in this indictment that the Americans knew that they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.


SCHNEIDER: But the indictment does detail the Russian's contact with several Americans including a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress who's identity has not been disclosed. It also documents discussions between the Russian intelligence officers posing as Guccifer 2.0 and a person who was close to the Trump campaign in August and September 2016. The language of the messages revealed in the indictment matches the twitter messages previously released by Roger Stone.

Stone has admitted he communicated with Guccifer 2.0 but denies he had any knowledge about the hacking.

(BEGIN VIDEO) ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT, LOBBYIST, AND STRATEGIST: I'm not involved in any collusion, coordination or conspiracy with the Russians or anyone else and there's no evidence to the contrary.


SCHNEIDER: The indictment also alleges that the Russian's first attempted to spear fish and hack email accounts used by Hillary Clinton's personal office on the same day Trump said this:


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.


SCHNEIDER: And the indictment appears to identify WikiLeaks for the first time as Organization 1 saying it released the emails and documents stolen from the DNC network by the Russians around July 22, 2016, right before the start of the Democratic National Convention.

The Deputy Attorney General briefed President Trump on the charges before he left for his overseas trip and today stressed politics should stay out of what is a serious legal and national security matter.


ROSENSTEIN: We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable and we need to keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference and defend America.


SCHNEIDER: Jessica Schneider, CNN Washington.

HOWELL: Jessica thank you. Roger Stone, who we just heard from in Jessica's reporting appears to be the unnamed person indicted or cited in the indictment - cited in the indictment by having contact with one of the online personas used by the hackers. Here's what he told my colleague, Chris Cuomo.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I just don't know why you won't own that the person that you were, whatever, the persona as they call it that you were corresponding with were the Russians. Why won't you own that?

STONE: Because I still don't know that it's true to a certainty.

CUOMO: Even though you never heard of any Guccifer before of any of this and there's all this proof from the U.S. government that is was developed for this purpose as stated in this indictment. STONE: I think we've been round and round about this before. I think our intelligence agencies have been politicized and I would like to see this proven in a court of law. I would admit that they have issued an extremely compelling and detailed indictment but it's still an accusation.


HOWELL: Again, Roger Stone appears to be the unnamed person cited in this indictment. Of course, we heard from him speaking to my colleague, Chris Cuomo. There have been mixed reactions on Capital Hill to the indictment. Here's what some lawmakers had to say about it.


REP. MARK WARNER, (D) VIRGINIA: I've been concerned for some time that the President's ad hoc style of going into meetings and winging it isn't appropriate especially when you're dealing with Vladimir Putin who has been on the world stage for 20 years, former KGB agent. He will come in with his facts, with maps, and I'm afraid that actually the President could be taken advantage of.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R) NORTH CAROLINA: The witch hunt is about his collusion. That is not factually accurate. The witch hunt he's talking about is the fact that he colluded. He knows that he didn't collude and so in doing that there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. No I have never said that Russia didn't try to interfere and meddle in the election. I think we've known that for some time so these indictments would certainly support that hypothesis. At the same time, I think the whole reason it was started was so that you would have an independent investigation into a presidential campaign and yet the indictment that came today could have come from a DAG or an Attorney General because they have nothing to do with the collusion narrative.


HOWELL: So that's the opinion from U.S. lawmakers despite some calls for the Summit to be called off. The White House says it will go on as planned. So now let's get the view live from Russia. Our Matthew Chance is live following the story this hour in Helsinki. And Matthew, here's the question, with this bombshell, this new indictment against Russian officers, what is the reaction to all of this from Russia?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well as expected the Russian have categorically denied any involvement with any election meddling. That's the position they've adopted in the past, they've adopted it again now. Last night, shortly after the indictments were made, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying this, I mean using some of the same language that President Trump uses when he talks about collusion.

Washington is struggling to reanimate old fake news it says, about alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. President Trump, of course has called the election a witch hunt. The Russian have used that term as well to describe the allegations of election meddling against them. They didn't use it in this statement. They said it was instead a heap of conspiracy schemes. The purpose of the bogus story, the statement goes on to say, is to spoil the atmosphere before the Russian-American summit; that summit, of course, taking place here in Helsinki.

There have been calls for it to be called off by President Trump but it's going to go ahead as we understand it. It's going to be taking place in the presidential palace which is just a short distance from here in the center of the Finnish capital. And the fact that - there's a bit of speculation it's going to lead to - the indictments are going to mean it's going to be a much more confrontational conversation between the two presidents about U.S. election - Russian election meddling in the U.S. election.

But in fact, the way the Russians have categorized it as something that's to do with political interference, a conspiracy to make Donald Trump look bad and to undermine the Russians on the internationals stage indicates that they both have the same points of view when it comes to election meddling. So far from being a confrontational issue between the two sides, this issue could be something that both President Trump and President Putin actually agree on and that's a pretty interesting situation to be in.

HOWELL: It will be interesting to see how this meeting comes together. Our Matthew Chance there live in Helsinki. Of course to bring us more in preparation for this meeting and we'll, of course, have the reaction from it. We'll stay in touch with you Matthew.

The U.S. President seems to take the Russia investigation personally suggesting that it's a made up witch hunt, fake news as he describes it to discredit his election. Here's what he said when the latest indictment was announced.


TRUMP: I think that we're being hurt very badly by the, I would call it witch hunt, I would call it the rigged witch hunt..."


HOWELL: Still Mr. Trump can't completely ignore the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies and mounting evidence of Russian interference in 2016 so he says he will bring it up. Let's listen.


TRUMP: I know you'll ask will we be talking about meddling and I will absolutely bring that up. I don't think you'll have any gee, I did it, I did it, you got me. There won't be a Perry Mason here I don't think but you never know what happens, right? But I will absolutely, firmly ask the question.

QUESTION: Mr. President, did you tell Putin to stay out of the U.S. elections?



HOWELL: The White House summed it up releasing this statement. Quote: Today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election results. It goes on to say this is consistent with what we have been seeing all along.

Let's talk about it all with Steven Erlanger. Steven is the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent for the "New York Times" live this hour in Brussels, Belgium. Steven, I'm sure you've been following all of these events. As Mr. Trump prepares to meet with Mr. Putin, does it put more pressure on the U.S. President given what we now know has been said about this investigation overall.

STEVEN ERLANGER, NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Well it does put more pressure on him but it also makes his constant statement that he had nothing to do with anything and it didn't matter and so on much harder to take. It also makes it harder for Putin to say I knew nothing about it and for Trump to accept that which he's done in the past. I mean the fact is Putin of course knew about it and this would not have happened without Putin's approval. This was the military intelligence of the state of Russia that got involved with the election.

Now Trump wants to move beyond this because of course he doesn't want anything to look like his election victory was tainted nor does he like this investigation by Mueller. This is something that obviously Mr. Putin never has to deal with. He doesn't have to deal with a Congress that's obstreperous or a justice department looking into his election campaign.

So Mr. Trump will go into Helsinki. I'm sure he will raise it. Mr. Putin will say I had nothing to do with it. Trump will smile and say OK, let's move on to other things. Now let's both promise not to meddle again in anyone's elections which will mean nothing and I hope then they will go on to questions of more substance like Syria, nuclear arms control, Ukraine, and so on.

HOWELL: And I guess you raise the issue, will the President be asserted in defense of the U.S. and its intelligence agencies that do confirm an election meddling happened or will he be passive on it? We'll have to wait and see.

Look, this meeting, this concept of a one-on-one between President Trump and President Putin. It has many allies even some of Mr. Trump's own Republican colleagues concerned. What's the plus minus of these two men speaking privately?

ERLANGER: Well the President has wanted to do this with Vladimir Putin for years, I mean certainly even during the campaign. The wants to reset relations. He thinks he can get on with (inaudible) strong guys who are decisive and, you know, Mr. Trump fancies himself the great negotiator, able to look into people's eyes and understand their vulnerabilities, so that's, you know, the plus side. The President wants to do it, fine.

There will be translators there so presumably notes would also be taken. It's not like it's going to be completely private. But at the same time people are worried that, you know, in his pride and sometimes people would say arrogance or self confidence, Trump will make concessions to Putin who his - no one has ever argued he is not a clever man. And those could include anyone could guess but suspending military exercises in Europe or deciding to pull down the number of American troops facing Russia toward NATO and Poland or the Baltic states.

Trump believes in making gestures; that is what he did with Kim Jong- un. Sometimes he - as with Kim Jung-un when he suspended military (inaudible) he never spoke to the Pentagon about it or even to the South Koreans; he just did it. That's the kind of thing that people worry about. Oddly people who worry about the meeting are relieved that John Bolton who is a hard-line guy against Russia and the National Security Advisor will be there ideally to keep Mr. Trump from giving away anything important but we actually don't really know.

HOWELL: All right, look you pointed this out a minute ago. There are a lot of issues that these two men could talk about, everything from Syria, North Korea, certainly nuclear weapons, but those are big issues. Mr. Trump focuses on those but I do want to get back to this very important issues that is playing out, the issue of Russian meddling in the U.S. election, the question how the President takes this on either passively or aggressively. Given what he does, how he chooses to take this on, does it either embolden Russia to do it again or does it make Russia reconsider? Is this a very important watershed moment?

ERLANGER: Oh I think it is important. I mean part of the problem, Trump has always mistrusted the American intelligence services. I mean Dan Coates who is the head of American intelligence has been warning that red lights are blinking in terms of cyber security and the people attacking America on cyber security are many but they are prominently Russia, China, North Korea. So Trump has never really taken intelligence that seriously and he's always poo-pooed American intelligence about Russian meddling and I think it's getting harder and harder for him to do that.

Now will he be aggressive with Putin? It's hard to say. I mean he will, you know he's promised people he will raise it loudly but from his comments in Britain that you just played, it's obvious he doesn't expect Putin to go very far and just to get a promise of no more meddling, I don't think takes us very far. I think if he did say it to Putin, we catch you doing this again, there will be serious consequences like X,Y, and Zed, then perhaps Putin might change his view. It's also possible, as in France where after it was clear Russians meddled in the American election, the French were very much on their guard and the incidences of an impact of Russian meddling in a French election were considerably less.

But Russia is meddling now in North Macedonia as we're calling it It's meddling in Greece, this trying to (inaudible) with the referendum that would change Macedonia's name to North Macedonias and then get it into NATO and get it into the new. This is where Russia is meddling. Russia is paying for local language, broadcasting in magazines and internet servers in places like Slovakia and Romania, and Poland, designed to press on issues and divide the west and divide European Union countries from one another. This is meddling too but I suspect Trump won't get into that with Putin.

HOWELL: It will be interesting to see how this all plays out - this meeting is important. Steven Erlinger, thank you for your time and perspective.

The U.S. President walking back from incendiary comments about the British Prime Minister, sort of. We'll explain that. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell. There were many protests of course in the U.K. President Trump's visit there has also been filled with Royal Pomp and Circumstance. On Friday, he and the First Lady met with Queen Elizabeth II. Our Jason Carroll reports that that meeting was perhaps a high point in Mr. Trump's long and sometimes awkward history with the Royal family.

JASON CARROLL: It has been said members of the Royal Family are above party politics but its clear Her Majesty the Queen is not above moving a politician along. Queen Elizabeth ushered President Trump with a slight of hand to inspect the cold stream guards at Windsor Castle and twitter didn't miss a step saying mate, it's not difficult just walk along the line looking pleased.

Trump has been fascinated with the Royals for some time. In 1981, he reported fanned a rumor Prince Charles and his then new bride, Princess Diana, planned to buy a multi-million dollar condo in Trump Tower. It is booked, art of the deal. Trump said a reporter wanted details about the potential sale. Trump responded saying he could not confirm or deny it. Years later in 1994, Trump reportedly help spread a similar rumor that Prince Charles and Diana had separated joined as charter members at his then new Mar-A-Lago club in Florida.

A palace spokesman at the time called it complete nonsense. And then there were the personal comments Trump made about Diana in one of his books. He wrote, his only regret in the women department was that he never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer. The "Boston Globe" reports Princess Diana thought Trump was creepy.

Shortly after her death in what was at times an off-color interview with HOWELL Stern, Trump praised Diana for her looks.


TRUMP: I said Lady Di had supermodel beauty.


CARROLL: In 2012, many came to Kate Middleton's defense after paparazzi shot the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless in France. Instead Trump tweeted, she had only herself to blame, saying who wouldn't take Kate's picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing.

Perhaps no surprise Trump did not meet with the Duke and Duchess nor Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and her newlywed husband Prince Harry. In 2016, Markle made her feelings about Trump well known.


MEGHAN MARKLE: With his misogynistic as Trump is and so vocal about it, Trump has made it easy to see that you don't really want that kind of world that he's painting.


CARROLL: And while there are protests in the streets and blown up balloons of the President floating around London, the Queen presented a Royal display of diplomacy with all of the pomp and circumstance. Jason Carroll, CNN New York.

HOWELL: Meeting with the Royals there. Let's get some insight now with Richard Fitzwilliams. Richard, a Royal commentator and Royal watcher, live this hour in our London bureau. Always a pleasure to have you here on the show Richard. Let's talk about this. Overall Mr. Trump insulting his host but then the next day apologizing, heaping praise on her; put into context the takeaways from this U.S. President's visit to your nation.

RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR OF ROYAL EVENTS: Well I think from the famous occasion in the 16th Century when Henry VIII met Francis of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, there have been certain courtesies observed in most diplomatic occasions. This most certainly was not one of them. It's become notorious and there has been a great deal of adverse publicity about it.

There's no question that the interview with the sum was an unbelievable gaff because clearly he knew what he was doing but equally he appears to have thought that giving an interview to an anti-E.U. paper owned by Murdock (ph) which is also a tabloid, not particularly highly regarded by a great number of Britian's intelligencia and also making a personal attack on Theresa May and boosting Johnson who he is apparently particularly fond of. I mean all of this is a crazy potpourri.

How the nation responded, well the nation responded very much in different camps. "The Daily Mail" for example believes that his behavior was extremely rational. "The Times" has been extremely critical. "The Telegraph" has been somewhat mixed and the "Guardian" has been very hostile but anyone watching this simply gets the impression that somebody is rather extraordinarily out of control.

I mean you were quoting some and it just shows if you make comments years ago they can come back to haunt you. You were quoting some extremely embarrassing things that Donald Trump has said in past years about members of the Royal Family. The Queen met him with an absolutely charming smile and there's little doubt that inspecting the Coldstream Guard of the historical quadrangle of Windor Castle dating back to the Baldwins where in fact, of course, we had the Royal wedding of the 19th of May quite recently of our first American Princess.

You notice the raft of the Trump and the Queen seemed strangely out of step and that tells one that he simply doesn't (inaudible) and the likes of Vladimir Putin will have taken notice of this while rather extraordinary extravaganza that we've been subjected to that haven't admittedly has had a certain theatrical pull. But when you actually come down to wonder what it means for a relationship between two extremely close allies, it gives cause for enormous concern.

HOWELL: Richard, very quickly, the relationship between these two nations, do you see this U.S. President's approach having a temporary impact or a long-lasting impact to that special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S.?

FITZWILLIAMS: It's absolutely impossible to say. I would answer your question if I could but if I could predict Donald Trump's next move I think I would be in the company of MacBeth's witches could look into the seeds of time and see which brains would grow and which would not might account to that.

HOWELL: Richard Fitzwilliams, you always put it in the most compelling and interesting context and perspective. Thank you so much for your time live for us in London.

And of course we'll have much more ahead on the U.S. President's visit to the U.K., stay with us.


HOWELL: On our Coast to Coast across the United States and to our viewers around the world, you're watching CNN "Newsroom." Thank you so much for being with us. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian military officials for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. The U.S. alleges the Russians hacked into several Democratic Party servers for the purpose of undermining the candidate then Hillary Clinton.

Memebers of the rescued Thai football team, they are thanking the world for supporting them through a terrifying ordeal. The 12 boys and their coach, they're still in hospitals but Thailand's health ministry says they are in good enough shape to go home by Thursday.

In Pakistan, an explosion has killed at least 128 people. It's wounded 200 others. A suicide attack targeting a political candidate's convoy, at least two other deadly incidents were also reported ahead of Pakistan's general election that is set in less than two weeks time.

And in just a few hours time both pro-Trump and anti-Trump rallies are set to start in the United Kingdom, tens of thousands protesting there the U.S. President's visit on Friday. At one point police had to close off Trafalgar Square because it almost reached capacity. More now on the U.S. President trying to make nice with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, after unleashing a volley of criticism against his host. The two held a joint news conference Friday. Mr. Trump says he apologized following the comments that he made in an interview with the British tabloid, "The Sun." He slammed the British Prime Minister for how she's handling Brexit negotiations. He tried to then walk that back a bit saying the paper didn't include the glowing things that he had to say about her, let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO) TRUMP: I didn't criticize the Prime Minister. I have a lot of respect for the Prime Minister. And unfortunately there was a story that was done, which was generally fine but it didn't put in what I said about the Prime Minister and I said tremendous things. Fortunately we tend to record stories now so we have it for your enjoyment if you'd like it but we record when we deal with reporters. It's called fake news and we solve a lot of problems.


HOWELL: The President ends calling his own words there fake news. Let's listen to Ben Kintish now, political correspondent for "The Independent" live this hour in London. Ben, look, there was obviously the interview that left a sting, but then the next day Mr. Trump heaped praise on Prime Minister Theresa May as if to shrug it all off. What's your read on the aftermath of President Trump's visit with America's closest ally?

BEN KENTISH, CORRESPONDENT FOR "THE INDEPENDENT": I think that was what we call in the media George, a spectacular user in the sense of very clearly criticizing three of the most policy in Brexit one day and then completely rowing back, even saying to her whatever you do on Brexit is fine with us. The initial interview with "The Sun" that you just mentioned was very, very embarrassing for the Prime Minister. She's juggling criticism from her own MPs here about the chance to the U.S. trade deal. For the U.S. President, himself, to come out and say her strategy has made that less likely; it is very difficult for her.

I think Downing Street will almost certainly have raised concern should we say with how optimistic (ph) Trump's team overnight and what we saw yesterday was a very clear and glowing fact from the U.S. President there, all in terms of - praising Theresa May, praising her strategy saying yes, I did offer advice, didn't take it and she's well within her right to do that. So in that sense I think Downing Street and Theresa May in the end, got what they wanted out of the trip.

But that was an unprecedented interview in "The Sun" in terms of a U.S. President so openly criticizing the British counterpart. But overall, history may have to (inaudible) or he would have very rather not have had that interview. But in the end, yes, I suspect they got what they wanted out of it.

HOWELL: I want to push forward just a bit on that Ben. With Theresa May under a great deal of pressure after a rough week dealing with the issue of Brexit, is the burden more on her to insure that the relationship with Mr. Trump and with the U.S. is strong especially with regards to securing trade.

KENTISH: I'm not sure you could say the burden is on her. I think that the actions that have put that special relationship more at risk really haven't come from the British side. We know Mr. Trump is as - has a different feelings shall we say toward some of the U.S. allies compared to past previous (ph) presidents on issues such as NATO and defense a kind of internationalism. I think his outlook is a lot more - a lot more inward looking than recent Presidents.

What works for officials not just in the U.K. but other western allies of the U.S. is that he has - though he is in the process of sort of turning his back on some of those alliances, I think during this period we actually didn't see some of those materialize quite as much as people thought they might. In the NATO summit in Brussels there were fears that he might even threaten to pull the U.S. out of NATO. He didn't do that. By the end of the Summit he was talking comparatively warmly in fact how he talked previously about NATO and then obviously yesterday we saw in the press conference yesterday we saw him heaping praise on Theresa May.

So, no I think that the burden is on her. I think what she wanted to emphasize and did is the mutual benefits in terms of security and the economy and trade and business of that special relationship. And also build a personal relationship with this President Trump. Because a lot of his policy toward others seems to be dictated by how he feels toward them personally and I think just watching that press conference and some of the comments he made about her, I do get the sense that personal relationship was improved over the course of those couple of days he was with her.

HOWELL: As we mentioned just a few minutes ago here in this show, there are anti and pro-Trump rallies across the United Kingdom here. But important to point out, given Brexit, there are many people certainly who appreciate President Trump's comments on the issue of immigration. I want to get your sense here, what is the overall read of Ms. May's approach at handling and hosting Mr. Trump who's certainly caused a great deal of rift.

Do people see her as standing up to him or cowering to him?

KENTISH: Well there's been an opinion polls on this George and what they generally show is that people are unhappy about the visit, unhappy at what they see as a red carpet welcome to the U.S. President, many of his policies they undermine(ph) (inaudible).

But at the same time they're pragmatic, they understand the need to soft rail (ph) on things like security. They understand the need for Theresa May to sort issue that trade deal. That's been no doubt a source of many of the comments Mr. Trump has made, one of the policies he's chewed (ph) in recent months. I'm very (inaudible) in (inaudible) you saw hundreds of thousands of people standing out in protest and so what I think they understand the need and ability to go ahead. That's very, very different from the British public agreeing with President Trump or seem to endorse anything that he has done a lot of what he has done recently. And actually they do seem to want Theresa May to be more critical as a poll reads that actually independent. So yes, people, (inaudible) Prime Minister needs to be more critical of the U.S. counterpart. Obviously that's more easier said than done. We know that as I say their relationship would take a real pounding if he senses any sort of criticism.

I think Theresa May has kind of played the long game here looking toward that trade deal, looking toward Brexit, avoided the pressure to come out with some sort of critique of what the President's summaries.

HOWELL: Ben Kentish, thank you so much for your time and perspective live for us in London.

KENTISH: Thank you.

HOWELL: Members of the Thai football team are now speaking out.


PEU, MEMBER OF THAI FOOTBALL TEAM: (through interpreter) Hi my name is Peu. I am fine. I would like to thank all people for being worried.


HOWELL: We're hearing from them, one by one, their first time to thank the world since their terrifying ordeal.


HOWELL: As voters prepared to go to the polls in Pakistan, tensions are growing there. At least 128 people died Friday in a suicide attack targeting a political candidate's convoy. CNN producer Sophia Saifi reports on the violence in this high-stakes election.

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNNI PRODUCER: Targeting the convoy for political candidate, it is Pakistan's deadliest terrorist strike of the year and the third this week to target political campaigners. Just 12 days before voters go to the polls, a high-stakes election has become more violent. Meanwhile, further north police deployed in large numbers as protestors marched in defiance of city orders. Supportive of Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for return with his daughter in a high stakes gamble to rouse a struggling party.


NAWAZ SHARIF, OUSTED PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER: (Through an interpreter) Pakistan is at a decisive juncture and I have done what is in my power and what was in my power. I know that I was sentenced to 10 years in prison and I am to be directly taken to jail. I want to tell Pakistanis that I have been doing this for you; I am making the sacrifice for your future generations.


SAIFI: Sharif and his daughter have been sentenced in absentia on corruption charges last week in a case related to the 2016 Panama Papers. Once the plane touched down in Lahore, they were apprehended quickly on charges he denies and his supporters lambaste as politically more (inaudible).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Through interpreter): let them do whatever police and their bullies want to do. We are here to face it; we will not turn back.


SAIFI: Sharif's return could shake up a fast-approaching election. His brother leads their ruling party which is fighting for survival particularly against their most formidable challenger and arch rival, cricket legend, Imran Khan.

Khan has campaigned hard on populist promises to end persistent corruption in Pakistan. A message that has resonated with some after Sharif's ousting last year but this election has been marred with accusations that Pakistan's powerful military is working to skew the contest in Khan's favor. Something the 65-year-old opposition leader rejects outright.


IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: The public is demanding accountability of leaders of political parties. Now is time there is an attempt to hold them accountable, they all get together and start saying it's anti-democratic and in this case they are saying it's pre- poll rigging.


SAIFI: Sharif's supporters are not the only ones claiming foul play ahead of the election. The party of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto similarly criticized what they called pre-poll rigging, when a criminal case against Bhutto's chairman and Bhutto's husband was reopened. At the party's helm is Bhutto's 29 year old son who is campaigning for the first time despite the violent end to his mother's political career.

More than a decade has passed since his mother's death. Tragically, political violence still plaguing Pakistan's elections. Sophia Saifi, CNN, Islamabad.

HOWELL: That's a story we'll continue to follow. Sophia, thank you. And now to the 12 boys and their coach who were trapped in Thailand for two weeks. They are speaking out for the first time since that ordeal. All are still recovering in hospitals. Some good news to share, Thailand's health ministry says they will be released by Thursday. Again, we're hearing from them one by one. They went on camera and they gave thanks to the world for the thanks that they received.

(BEGIN VIDEO) UNIDENTIFIED THAI FOOTBALL MEMBER: Hello. I'm doing - now I am very fine. I want to thank you, thank you so much. (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through interpreter): Hi my name is Mick(ph). I am healthy. Thank you for getting inside the cave to help me. Don't worry, I am safe.

UNIDENTIFED MALE (through interpreter): Hi my name is Titan(ph). My body is now starting to return to normal. I want to eat sushi. I would like to thank the SEALs for helping us. Thank you everyone for supporting us until now. Thank you.


HOWELL: It is just so wonderful to hear their voices. Now these boys were invited to the World Cup final. They won't be able to make it but hopefully they will be able to watch it. And of course, up next we talk about the World Cup, that big game, what to expect when France takes on Croatia.


DON RIDDELL, SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines. It's been an historic day at Wimbledon where Kevin Anderson and John Isner played out the second longest match in tennis history. South African Anderson survived a grueling semifinal match from center court to reach the final for the first time. He beat his American opponent by 26 games to 24 in the 5th set. The match lasted 6 hours and 36 minutes. For Isner, it was an extreme case of deja vu. He also played in the longest ever match at Wimbledon. This time though he was on the losing side.

Anderson will have to wait until Saturday to find out if he will be playing either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in the final having waiting all day, those two did get out onto the court just after 8 p.m. but they couldn't finish the match; they'll pick it up tomorrow but Djokovic is leading two sets to one.

And after weeks of speculation, Chelsea have sacked their manager, Antonio Conte. News of his departure was confirmed by a terse statement on Friday. In two seasons, the British Conte won the premier league title and also the FA Cup but he leaves the Blues in the state of some disarray. They have failed to qualify for the Champion's League and haven't yet named a new manager. Preseason training has already begun.

That is a quick look at your sports headlines, I'm Don Riddell.

HOWELL: The world will be watching, the stage is set for football's biggest game - France taking on Croatia set to square off on Sunday in the World Cup final in Moscow. It is a David versus Goliath story. France a heavy tournament favorite; Croatia's reputation has been building for years. Still they remain a long shot. Let's talk more about all the football action, Alex Thomas live in Moscow this hour. Alex, let's start with what was an unexpected matchup to say the least, France versus Croatia. ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, George, it's no surprise to see France in their third ever World Cup final exactly 20 years after they won the tournament for the first time but not many Croatian - predicted that Croatia would be here despite having a spine of players who played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe including the team captain, Luca Modric there only a couple months ago help Madrid lift its third successive champion lead title. CNN's Oren Liebermann has been back to the town in Croatia where Modric grew up to find out about his early struggles and the fact that he's a more divisive figure than you might think.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The name of Croatia's soccer star is on the signs here but Luca Modric's family hasn't called this place home in 20 years. In the foothills of Velebit Mountain, this is where the young Luca spent his earliest years; his childhood home long since abandoned, surrounded by minefields that speak to the area's violent past. In the Balkan wars in the early 1990's Serbian militia men killed Modric's grandfather. Modric's father fought for the Croatian army. The fighting killed thousands and displaced many more. The family fled the violence with six year old Luca.

The Modric family made their way to Zadar, a coastal town that shows little evidence of the mortar attacks that were so common here. Luca's family found a home in this refugee hotel where he grew up with other children of war.


DANLIO PAVLOVIC (PH), CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF LUCA MODRIC: (Through interpreter) We had practically nothing. We only had a ball which we had to buy ourselves. We had a playground full of mortars. When the general alarm went off we had to hide in the basement so we lost our youth.


LIEBERMANN: Robbed of his childhood, Modric found strength in sport. The local team soon noticed Modric. His first trainer, Yosip Bapo Bajo (ph) saw the determination that would define him, playing on a team with other children of war, Modric always stood out.


YOSIP BAPO BAJO (PH), MODRIC EARLY TRAINER: (through interpreter) Luca was hyperactive and he immediately stood out in front of his whole generation as a young football player. His father told me that he even slept with his football.

LIEBERMAN (VOICEOVER): Many of those who played with Modric had also fled violence. Zvedco Ustage (ph) CEO of Modric's youth team said the fighting didn't ruin the children; it strengthened them.

ZVEDCO USTAGE (PH), CEO OF MODRIC'S YOUTH TEAM (through interpreter): Luca was always full of joy, full of life. He always asked for one more success. He never liked to lose. He always wanted to win and inside of him he always had the character of a winner.

LIBERMANN: Modric's skills and his ability to strike from a distance has taken him all the way to the Champion's League in Real Madrid, a star on soccer's biggest stage.


LIBERMANN: If Modric has escaped the shadow of war, there is another shadow that now hangs over the Croatian star. Modric is involved in a corruption case centered around the owner of his old team. Prosecutors haven't named him as a defendant but local media has identified Modric in a chase in which he's been charged with perjury.

Prosecutors say Modric lied about the signing of part of his contract. The team owner at the time, Zerfco Momige (ph) was convicted of fraud and fled the country. Modric took heat for testifying against Momige (ph) then changing that testimony. It's a charge that could theoretically send Modric to prison for years but reportedly a court has not yet approved the indictment.

One more win in this World Cup, a victory in the finals would go a long way to quelling that still lingering anger over the corruption scandal.


LIEBERMANN: (voice over) Croatia celebrated when the team made it to the championship game. Modric the star midfielder led the way as team captain for Croatia, a country of four million people with one final challenge ahead. From the worn down pitch of his youth to the world's biggest stage, Modric is as unafraid of the long shot as he has always been.


THOMAS: Despite the controversy, Oren Libermann, George, you have to consider this path to the World Cup final a complete fairy tale story and arguably if Croatia wins, it will be the biggest upset in World Cup Final history.

HOWELL: Alex Thomas, thank you so much and we thank you this hour for being with us. For CNN Newsroom, I'm George Howell at the CNN Center at Atlanta. Newday is next for viewers in the U.S. and around the world, Amanpour is ahead. Thank you for watching CNN the world's news leader.