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Trump-Putin Summit; Hamas, Islamic Jihad Say Cease-fire Reached with Israel; World Cup 2018; U.S. Immigration Chaos. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired July 15, 2018 - 00:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Donald Trump working on his golf stroke in Scotland as he prepares for Monday's one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Who will earn the right to call themselves the best in the world?

We'll know in a few hours as France prepares to take on underdog Croatia in the World Cup final.

The smile of a 6-year old. The Salvadoran girl, whose cries at the U.S.-Mexico border were heard the world over, is back with her mom.

Live from the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.


VANIER: So U.S. president Donald Trump is spending the night at his golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, before heading to a historic summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

On Saturday he played some golf while protesters yelled at him from afar.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA. No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA.

VANIER (voice-over): Mr. Trump is expected to leave Scotland on Sunday and then fly to Helsinki.


VANIER: A major issue overshadowing that meeting, whether Mr. Trump will confront Mr. Putin over Russian meddling in the 2016 election. We've got more from CNN's Michelle Kosinski, already in the Finnish capital.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Focus now turns here to Helsinki, where President Trump arrives Sunday night ahead of his Monday meeting and press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Back home in the U.S., there's still debate, strong reaction after the indictments of 12 Russian officers linked to the Kremlin for meddling in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

Multiple Democrats within Congress, at least one Republican, calling for the president to cancel this meeting. Remember, there's some within the president's own administration, who don't really understand why he wants to have this now.

But we heard from the secretary of state backing up Trump on this, saying this meeting and better relations with Russia could put the U.S. in a better place. But there are also calls and questions over why the president has not, at the very least, strongly rebuked Putin for this election meddling.

In fact, what we've been hearing from the president on Twitter has been a criticism of the Obama administration for not being tougher on Russia. Back when we first heard he was going to sit down with Putin, on Twitter, he was talking about how Putin denies election medical.

So taking the Kremlin's line instead of the line of U.S. intelligence and now the Department of Justice. So we know that Trump, according to what he has said, will raise the issue of election meddling with Putin. He said he would. But he's also said that he knows what Putin will say, that he's not sure it's going to go anywhere.

That may well be true. But what President Trump has been reluctant to do is to call out Putin directly, call out his people for trying to hurt American democracy. Certainly he has not done that publicly. Privately, we'll just have to see what happens -- Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Helsinki.


VANIER: And to get some insight how the meddling issue might play out at the Helsinki summit, I spoke earlier with CNN global affairs analyst, David Rohde. Here's what he had to say about it.


VANIER: The latest Mueller indictment really strikes pretty close to the Kremlin. It accuses military intelligence of meddling in the U.S. election.

Do you think that changes Monday's meeting?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think it puts vastly more pressure on President Trump to confront Vladimir Putin about interfering in the 2016 election and potentially interfering in future elections in the United States. There is crystal clear proof that the Russian government did this.

This is no longer in any way, shape or form a question. And President Trump, you know, has to confront him on this issue. I think he's under real pressure now politically.

VANIER: OK, here's his latest tweet on this then.

"These Russian individuals did their work during the Obama years.

"Why didn't Obama do something about it?

"Because he thought Crooked Hillary Clinton would win."

So Donald Trump is blaming Obama for failing to act.

Why doesn't he blame Putin for the aggression in the first place?

ROHDE: It's astonishing to me. He's avoiding the issue. And you know, Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Many American intelligence officials fear that the Russian efforts -- you know, it was to interfere in the election, it was to help Trump win but their goal is to divide American society.

It's to divide the United States from its NATO allies. And Russia is succeeding. The responsibility for responding to Russia lies --


ROHDE: -- with Donald Trump and no one else. He can, again, play word games and dismiss things in tweets. But I think many people will expect him to raise this issue, many Americans, with Donald Trump -- I'm sorry -- with Vladimir Putin on Monday.

VANIER: He does plan to raise the issue. He addressed this. Listen to this.


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. And, hopefully, we'll have a very good relationship with Russia.


VANIER: So look, Donald Trump gets quite a lot of criticism for this because it sounds like he might be willing to give Vladimir Putin a pass if Putin doesn't admit to meddling, which he won't.

So my question is, does Trump have a point here?

Putin is not going to admit to anything. So at some point you have to move on. And either you take stronger measures against Russia or you indeed build closer ties, as Donald Trump would like to do. ROHDE: I just think this is an extraordinary moment, the level of meddling that went on. I think Trump is embarrassed. I mean, he's the only American president whose election win was tainted by interference from Russia.

I'm not saying he won because of Russia. I'm not saying there's collusion. That investigation continues. But he keeps trying to sort of avoid confronting Putin on this issue and then he's very contradictory.

Why have this summit?

Many of his aides asked him not to do this. They were worried this situation would happen, there would be indictments beforehand. So Donald Trump seems to want it all, he wants this summit, he wants the big photo opportunity, he wants this new issue -- or, sorry, this new relationship with Russia.

But he will not deal with the problem of interference. If he would deal with this clearly, I think it would help him politically. He would move on from this faster if he would aggressively confront Putin and say, we will not tolerate this behavior.


VANIER: In the Middle East, Hamas and Islamic Jihad say they have reached a cease-fire with Israel after a spike in fighting along the Gaza border over the last 24 hours. The Israeli prime minister's office says it has no comment about the reports of a cease-fire agreement. We have more from CNN's Ian Lee in Jerusalem.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This recent violence can be traced to Friday, when Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians during protests along the Gaza border with Israel. Then early Saturday morning, residents in Southern Israel near Gaza woke up to sirens warning of incoming projectiles.

Throughout the day, at least 200 rockets and mortars were fired by Gaza militants toward Israel. At least 30 were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Israeli fighter jets retaliated, hitting dozen of Hamas targets, including tunnels, training facilities, weapons depots and command centers. It was the single largest bombing campaign in Gaza since the 2014 war. Two Palestinian teenagers were killed and a dozen injured during the bombings, according to the Palestinian ministry of health.

Israeli medical officials say four people are injured, three of which sustained light to moderate shrapnel injuries after a rocket hit their house in a town. This kind of situation always has the potential of getting out of hand, possibly leading to another war.

There were reports that the U.N. and Egypt were working hard behind the scenes to broker a cease-fire. Islamic Jihad and Hamas confirmed one had been reached, starting at 8:00 pm local time.

This highlights the pivotal role that Egypt has been playing in keeping the peace. Although Israel's prime minister's office had no comment on the cease-fire.

Now right now, it seems to be holding and this isn't the first time in recent months we've seen a cease-fire like there, where there might be few more exchanges that might take place. Before it does, a return back to calm -- Ian Lee, CNN, Jerusalem.


VANIER: To the Korean Peninsula now. At this hour, North Korean officials are meeting with U.S. officials on the return of U.S. service member remains. That's farther than they got last week, when North Korea didn't even show up for Thursday's meeting.

Andrew Stevens joins us with the details from Seoul.

Andrew, where are we right now in these talks?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, as you point out, the meeting is underway. That we do know. That was confirmed by U.S.- Korea forces.

Other than that, we don't have details at all. We're not expecting details until this meeting wraps up. But I can't say when it started and how long it's going to go. What the North Koreans did ask for at this meeting was for a general level meeting, meaning it was for senior military --


STEVENS: -- leaders on both sides to take part. So that could suggest that this is much more about logistics and exactly how the remains are returned.

The U.S. thinks the North Koreans have sets of some 200 remains of U.S. service men, who died during the Korean War. About 5,300 are unaccounted for. So that 200 is still a small fraction of the number who did go missing during the Korean War and remain missing to this day, Cyril.

But politically speaking, this is a step forward after the no-show on Thursday by the North Koreans -- and it does at least generate some goodwill in meetings between the U.S. and North Korea over denuclearization, which has so far got off to a very rocky start indeed.

We know Mike Pompeo was accused of a gangster-like mentality, him and his team, when he went to Pyongyang. And then we had this snubbing by the North Koreans, not turning up at this meeting about the repatriating the remains.

So at least the meeting is underway. And we'll have to wait; hopefully later today within a few hours to get some indication of what has been decided and what the next steps are.

This is an important move forward for the North Koreans and for the Americans. It was discussed by Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. It was in their agreement they signed it at their summit on June 12th in Singapore, that the repatriation of the remains would take place.

VANIER: You say there's a little bit of movement, some goodwill.

What does this tell us about the prospect for denuclearization?

STEVENS: At least there's some good faith they are sitting down talking to each other. If you listen to the official line from the Americans, at least -- because obviously we get very little from the North Koreans -- the Americans, through Donald Trump himself, has been saying great progress is being made on denuclearization.

Mike Pompeo, as he left Pyongyang, said that significant steps are being taken in many areas during their nine hours of talks. But that was followed by the North Korean lashing out at the U.S. It was followed by unnamed sources in the White House, saying that was possibly the worst outcome they could have expected from that meeting in Pyongyang.

It does mean, Cyril, there is an awful lot of work to go forward on this. There is a lot of skepticism. There's a lot of reality in many people's minds in the U.S. that the North Koreans really have no interest in full denuclearization or, at least denuclearization as seen by the U.S.

So it's a start but there's a very long way to go.

VANIER: Andrew Stevens, reporting from the Korean Peninsula, thank you very much.

And the World Cup, it's the match no one wants to play. But England and Belgium played it anyway. A look at the third place playoff and Sunday's final when we come back.

Plus, that bright smile that says it all, the story of this mother and daughter's joyful reunion after a long month apart in U.S. custody.





VANIER: All right. Fans are just about ready for the ultimate football championship. Croatia and France are fighting it out Sunday at the World Cup final. CNN's Patrick Snell, of course, is, all over it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The World Cup final is set to take center stage in Moscow on Sunday when France take on Croatia. With a population of just over 4 million people, Croatia will look to become the second smallest nation in history after Uruguay to win the World Cup.

The Croatians were semi-finalists 20 years ago but then followed years of relative underachievement until now, that is. This golden generation of stars simply doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word defeat.

Three times in the knockout stages, they emerged victorious after trailing in all three matches as they bid to try and win the tournament for a first time. But standing in their way, the formidable French, who were crowned world champions 20 years ago on home soil, by the way, beating Croatia en route to that title in the semifinals, in fact.

Le Bleu will surely be hugely motivated as well after losing the Euro '16 final against Portugal in Paris, when they were absolutely expected to win by the home faithful there at least.

By the way, what an accomplishment this would be for France's head coach, Didier Deschamps, who is looking to become just the third man in history to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager following in the footsteps of Brazil's Mario Zagallo and the legendary Franz Beckenbauer.


SNELL (voice-over): Now Belgium and England hoped to be in the final but had to settle for the third place match on Saturday. It was competitive and it would be a dream start for the Belgian national team to actually get on the board as early as the fourth minute of play, thanks to Thomas Meunier's finish that actually threw him off his right knee for the opening goal.

Belgium well on their way to their best-ever finish at a FIFA World Cup. One of the many tough points for the English would be the outstanding form of their goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, the Everton stopper, again showing his class to keep Meunier from adding to his tally.

Pickford though, utterly helpless when Belgium put the game to bed near the end. The Chelsea playmaker edging out Hazard (ph) with his third goal of the tournament at this World Cup, 2-0 and the Three Lions pounded (ph) their third loss of the tournament. Victory for Belgium.


SNELL: That's your FIFA World Cup update. I'm Patrick Snell.


VANIER: I also spoke earlier to CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan and asked her who is going to win, France or Croatia.


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: The conventional wisdom -- although maybe we should have thrown that out the window a long time ago with this tournament -- but would be France. They won it 20 years ago. They were in the final 12 years ago. They are the tested team. They are the veterans. They're the big, broad-shouldered favorite for sure.

So my head tells me France.

My heart, my heart though, Cyril, says, what about little Croatia?


VANIER: That's interesting. Let me put up the odds. So France are the odds-on favorite to win the game, to win the game in extra time and to win the game on penalties. That's not a surprise.

But the Croatia story is so compelling -- and we were just talking about that. I feel that when you have an underdog that gets to this last stage of the competition, momentum becomes a real thing that can push them over the edge.

How do you feel about that?

BRENNAN: I agree completely. Yes, they're on a roll. And we saw it and they've just been able to pull it out, obviously beating host Russia and then beating England. I mean, they have just been able to pull it out, exactly when they needed to, and win these incredible games.

Second smallest country, never been in this position ever. I think probably most of the world, Cyril, if I would guess, would maybe be cheering for them just because they're the little engine that could, they're just the people we hadn't thought of, as you said.

And now they're in this position. It's remarkable. We see it in sports every now and then with underdogs. That's why we cheer for underdogs. And I think you're right. The momentum they have built, the confidence they have, they're world beaters right now.

And Croatia absolutely thinks that they can beat France and win this whole thing. And wouldn't that be an amazing story.


VANIER: CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan there.

Up next, a massive iceberg is parked right by a tiny village in Greenland, a beautiful landscape that also could turn deadly. We'll explain why.





VANIER: There's developing news out of Iraq, where a wave of protests is the latest challenge for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The unrest is mostly in southern and central Iraq for now.

Demonstrators are fed up with unemployment and a lack of basic services. They're staging rallies like this and have stormed government buildings as well. Security forces he reportedly been put on high alert.

The U.S. government is evaluating whether more than 2,500 migrant children in its custody are eligible to be reunited with their parents. The court-ordered deadline for the reunions is July 26th. For the kids, it's a harrowing wait, illustrated by the recording of one 6-year-old girl, crying for her mother. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VANIER (voice-over): And that is precisely recording that helped bring the U.S. migrant crisis to the world's attention. Luckily, this little girl and her mom have a happy ending. CNN's Gary Tuchman has their reunion story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six-year-old Alison Jimena, walking off her first plane ride ever. She looked out her window and wondered during the flight, played with her doll, colored in her coloring book, getting off in Houston with two social workers, hours after being released from a shelter in Arizona, getting ready to see the mother she was separated from one month ago.

While she waited for her mom to arrive, the two spoke by phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Mother, Cindy, telling her she and her lawyer are on a very long drive to the airport from South Texas but will be there soon.

After Alison was done talking to her mom, I told Cindy I was on the plane with her daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCHMAN (on camera): She was not scared on the plane.

You are very strong, right? TUCHMAN (voice-over) At 3:00 am, Cindy arrives at Houston Intercontinental Airport for the reunion she's been dreaming of for a month, finally getting to hold hands with her daughter.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Big smiles.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The little girl heard the whole over on the (inaudible) ProPublica audiotape back with her mother, a mother released from a detention center in Texas after being approved to proceed with her asylum claim following a journey from El Salvador.

Cindy not even knowing where her daughter was after they were separated a little over four weeks ago.

Alison says, "I missed my mommy. I was so happy to see her at the airport. I'm happy I will now see her all the time."

Cindy says she isn't going to take her eyes off Alison and is excited they are now in this country together.

Cindy says, "Everyone knows the United States is a great country. It's safer. There is better education, a better health system, but most importantly, the safety for my daughter."

TUCHMAN: Mother and daughter will live with Cindy's sister in the Houston area while proceeding with her asylum claim, hoping the sadness and separation are behind them -- Gary Tuchman, CNN, Houston.



VANIER: Icebergs are known to be hazards to ships. Now there's a big one off Greenland that's actually threatening an entire village.


VANIER: Thank you for watching. We're back with the headlines in just a second.