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Cleanup Time for Trump; Another Hooray for Russians; Theresa May Won Narrowly from Pro-E.U. Lawmakers; European Union and Japan Strikes a Deal on Trade. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 18, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: The U.S. president is in damage control mode. Donald Trump now says he misspoke when casting doubt that Russia interfered in the election.

Close call for the British prime minister. Theresa May was just six votes away from losing a crucial vote on Brexit. Now she'll face tough questions in parliament.

Plus it's being called a message against protectionism while some major economies threaten trade wars, the E.U. and Japan strike a deal promoting free trade.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary church and this is CNN Newsroom.

Facing some of the harshest criticism of his presidency, Donald Trump is playing cleanup. He now says he misspoke during his news conference with Vladimir Putin when he said he didn't see any reason why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election. He meant to say he didn't see any reason why Russia would wouldn't interfere.

But as he spoke, Trump undercut the carefully scripted explanation when he adlibbed that non-Russians could have interfered. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. It could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there.


CHURCH: But a lot of his critics just aren't buying the president's explanation. Some say it's only made things worse.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports from the White House.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump in full damage control mode tonight.


TRUMP: I realize that there is a need for some clarification.


ZELENY: Insisting he misspoke in Helsinki accepting Vladimir Putin's denial of Russia's attack on American democracy.


TRUMP: I said the word would instead of wouldn't. And the sentence should have been and I thought I would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video. The sentence should have been I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.


ZELENY: Yet that hardly cleans up the skeptical of the Putin summit, which has been the most condemned and criticized moment of his presidency.

Standing alongside Putin he just said Monday.


TRUMP: He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.


ZELENY: But more than 24 hours later his words don't erase what he said on the world stage, that he accepted Putin's words over that of the U.S. intelligence agencies.


TRUMP: I have full faith and support for the America's great intelligence agencies. Always have and I felt very strongly that while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that, and I've said this many times. I accept our intelligence community's conclusion.


ZELENY: Yet, the president continues to not fully embrace the detailed evidence his own government has produced, leaving the door open to other bad actors beyond Russia. And again insisting there was no collusion with his campaign, which is still the subject of a special counsel investigation.


TRUMP: Let me be totally clear in saying that and I've said this many times -- I accept our intelligence community's conclusion of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. It could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there. There was no collusion. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: Reading from scripted remarks today in the cabinet room of the White House, his words hardly taking away the damage at home or abroad for saying this in Helsinki.


TRUMP: So I have great confidence in my intelligence people. But I will tell you President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.


ZELENY: It's been the most sweeping refute of the president from his own party. On Capitol Hill today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addresses Moscow directly.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY, MAJORITY LEADER: I think the Russians need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016 and it really better not happen again in 2018.


ZELENY: The White House shaken by blow back. As the president evolve to headlines declaring treason the conservative Wall Street Journal's editorial page declaring the Helsinki performance a personal and national embarrassment. Asserting the president had projected weakness.

Former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci not mincing words.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Loyalty right now requires you to tell the truth and sit with him and explain to him the optics of the situation, why the optics are bad. The strategy in terms of trying to get along with Vladimir Putin and deploying a strategy of going against the intelligence agencies is very bad.


[03:05:08] ZELENY: The criticism echoing across the GOP.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R) ILLINOIS: President Trump was wrong yesterday in a major way and I think it was very embarrassing press conference.

REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: You could say embarrassing but I don't think that that does a sufficient justice. I think it undermines our moral authority. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The antics over the last 10 days have been damaging to our country.


ZELENY: It was clear the criticism, particularly from inside the president's own administration and from loyal supporters needed to be addressed. So Trump made this statement today trying to undo the damage. But as he read from his remarks, this happens.


TRUMP: I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies. Oops, they just turned off the lights. That must be the intelligence agencies.


ZELENY: The controversy in clean up is all over what President Trump said publicly in Helsinki. The looming question is what he said privately to Vladimir Putin behind closed doors when they met for nearly two hours. That's what U.S. officials are now wondering. Were any secrets given up? What exactly was discussed when Trump and Putin met one on one?

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles to talk about all of this, Michael Genovese, president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, and David Siders, a senior reporter for Politico. Good to have you both with us.

So Michael Genovese, to you first, how likely is it that President Trump's explanation that he misspoke going to cut it in the end or could the Helsinki summit threaten to cast a shadow over the rest of his term do you think?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, it's hard to see that his act of contrition had the impact that he wanted. I don't know if it made it better or worse? Probably worse. I think the president said he misspoke and said well, I really -- I was getting a double negative.

But that's the way people are describing his presidency at this point is a double negative. And the question is can he overcome this.

There have been so many times we've left him for dead saying, you know, after the Access Hollywood tape, et cetera, et cetera, he kept on saying that did for him. He has a way of reviving himself like Phoenix.

But I think that in this case I think, you know, more and more people now the Republicans especially are beginning to think maybe we are being shape by a drunken barber and he may not be able to recover fully from this.

CHURCH: Well, David Siders, to you now. Some critics have even suggested that the remarks Mr. Trump made at his summit with Putin amount to treason. How close did he come to that?

DAVID SIDERS, SENIOR REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, I think you saw that the critics either accuse him of that outright or say that he --I saw one columnist say, I think he walked up to that black water's edge. That's a line that you'll see critics try to use and I think with some effect.

Now my question is what are we talking about a week from now? And I'm not sure that this has the legs that critics hope that it does at his for his broader political ambitions. I'm not sure that we're not talking about the Supreme Court nomination in a week.

CHURCH: Right. Yes, we have seen that so many times as you point out. And Michel, President Trump now says he accepts the conclusion of U.S. intelligence that Russia did in fact meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election but then he contradicted himself by adding that it could be other people also. What did that comment signal to you?

GENOVESE: I think it suggests his inability to really come to grips with it. Because I think he so overly personalizes everything. And he sees any chink in the armor of his election as being the delegitimizing force. And I think he's so insecure about that, so sensitive about that, that if he allows one little chink in the chain to collapse I think he feels that the whole house of cards may come tumbling down.

And so the president I think is overly sensitive about this and every time that we talk about anything going on with Russia, he keeps coming back to the same old mantra no collusion, no collusion although a lot of other things that went one. And so the president, I think does himself a disservice when he focuses on the narrow no collusion at the expense of all the other things going on.

CHURCH: Yes. And David, let's talk about that because when the cameras were in that room with Mr. Trump Tuesday while he was clarifying his comments, they picked up some hand written notes on his statements specifically saying there was no collusion.

It's a message, of course, as Michael pointed out he has been pushing for quite some time now. Why did he add that? Handwrite it into that statement that presumably he had sat with his advisors and assess what should be said there. He had written that in Tuesday. Why do you think?

SIDERS: Well, I can't get into his head. But I can say that the president he's had his hand written notes viewed publicly before. So he is somebody who knows that if he walks into with handwritten notes on a piece of paper, that they're liable to get picked up by the cameras.

[03:10:07] And in this case what we're talking about right now is a big bold letter saying there was no collusion.

So if you're the president trying to get a message that yes, you misspoke or you handled the Helsinki summit poorly, he can do that but then he can also refrain the narrative again for the entire evening. And there it is on the screen again with people seeing there was no collusion and that's the message the president is trying to drive home.

CHURCH: Yes. And Michael, some Republicans spoke out Tuesday although they didn't mention Mr. Trump by name and many said nothing, it has to be said. But what should they be doing in the wake of this crisis? Are they doing enough? Should they be speaking up more?

GENOVESE: Well, up to this point they've been pretty much scared of Donald Trump and the revenge of Trump. Because his base is still so loyal to him. That they fear that either they'll get primaried out or in the general election his folks won't come out.

And so the Republicans have been very hesitant to take him on. This is a special case I think. There are a lot of Republicans have a long history of course of being very hard on Soviet Union now the Russia, being tough on Putin and they don't want to be put into the same boat as Donald trump. Basically, giving permission for Putin to do some of his dirty deeds.

And so I think the Republicans are in a very, very difficult position right now. They want to come out against Putin. But that also means coming out against your president. And so this is going to be a tough choice that they have to make.

On the president's side as David said, tomorrow, next week, we'll be talking about the new shiny object. The news story, the next crisis. And the president's strength is that he can go and jump from crisis to crisis because we focus on the shiny object that's before us that day.

CHURCH: Yes. Always distractions, of course. And David, how likely do you think it is that the U.S. intelligence community will keep some classified information from the president going forward in light of what he said at that summit?

SIDERS: I think the comments that we heard in the last hour from the ambassador were interesting in this respect. He said that if the president asked intelligence officers, they would have to respond accurately and that he thought they would. But that it could affect how briefings are done and how the intelligence community would bring information for the president.

So, perhaps on that the positive side of bringing information could be affected. Certainly the intelligence community has been unsettled by this and Trump's meeting in Helsinki has done nothing to calm, I think unrest within that community.

CHURCH: Yes. And Michael, how does the rest of the world view President Trump and the U.S. in the wake of this Helsinki summit. And how night it change the way Europe deals with America. We still want to have that relationship obviously, but would European leaders and others perhaps attempt to bypass the president, still have links to the military, to diplomats. Is that possible?

GENOVESE: Well, I think you've seen a deal today between Japan and the E.E. on trade. So I think to the extent that they can go around the United States they may very well do this. But I think the last week was really the trifecta for the president.

You had the disastrous NATO visit, the disastrous trip to the U.K. and now this multiple disaster with Putin. And I think, you know, in some respects this might be his Katrina. In other respect you wonder is this just going to be yet another bump in the road that he survives.

Europe has begun to try to some course. They know, for example, Angela Merkel is going to be attacked, Theresa May is going to be attacked, you can't rely on our president, you can't trust our president.

And so I think they're going to do as much as they can alone but they need the United States. They need to defend his umbrella. They can't go on without us.

CHURCH: And David, you get the final word. Do you agree on that?

SIDERS: I think Corker's statements may have been interesting today. That he's critical of the president, like a lot of Republicans are. They're critical of the president. But when asked about the Kavanaugh appointments as why would I cut my nose despite my face? I like this Supreme Court appointee.

And I think a lot of Republicans will end up being in the same vote. And the apology today may help them. So they can say we don't agree with this president all the time. In fact, I think I think they're more than willing to say that President Trump is an imperfect animal.

But they like things about him more than they're willing to dislike the other things. Whether it's the Access Hollywood tape or immigration policy, or his posture against Russia.

And so that's my suspicion of where things land. And of course I could be wrong. Because at some point maybe the president does have a Katrina moment and then, you know, then that's off.

CHURCH: Yes. Time will tell. We will see in 24 hours what we're all talking about. Michel Genovese and David Siders, thank you to you both for joining us. We appreciate it.

Well, Russia is hailing the Trump/Putin summit as a great success.

[03:14:59] For more on the Kremlin reaction, let's bring in senior international correspondent Sam Kiley who joins us live from Moscow. Good to see you, Sam.

So while the U.S. president struggles to clarify his remarks at the summit, President Putin is taking a few victory laps. What are people in Russia saying about all of this?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been fascinating, Rosemary. Of course, if you take the people inside the Kremlin, Sergey Lavrov immediately after that press conference the meeting in Helsinki was talking about it being magnificent and better than super. Words, the sort of words that Lavrov never uses. He's a very statesmanlike individual, a very pretty (Inaudible) most of the time. And then you have the local media which was delighted initially that

the focus, as they saw it by the western media, remained on what they considered because of course this is not a free media in this country to be irrelevant. And that these, the indictments of those 12 alleged members of the GRU, the military intelligence over election interference in the United States.

They saw that as a side issue. One that was skillfully dealt with by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, of course who dismissed it all. And now we've seen overnight some fascinating developments on some of the TV stations here where there's open speculation as to whether or not Donald Trump is indeed a compromised agent of the Kremlin.

They -- one TV host saying that in her view you can't really talk about your own country in such negative terms in the presence of a rival without being compromised, rather echoing a lot of the sort of more speculative allegations coming out of Mr. Trump's opponents in the United States.

So they're still, it's all beginning to filter through now. They ran the Fox TV interview with Vladimir Putin at length yesterday in which he also rejected the idea that these 12 people were employee of his effectively where intelligence agents who disrupted the elections.

But there is a degree almost a glee, that perhaps in some way Donald Trump has been compromised. A really quite extraordinary series of developments within Russia. And of course, they are also delighted that the substantive issues under which Russia has had suffered sanctions which is the illegal annexation of Crimea, destabilization of Ukraine, continued atrocities being committed by the Russian air force right p to this day all over Syria.

These are issues that were really effectively brushed aside with very broad stroke ideas of perhaps trying to agree in the future about humanitarian coordination over Syria, for example.

So Russia continues to be fairly gleeful. But still, I think there's a level of incredulity creeping here in Moscow, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And here in the United States. A very interesting developments there across Russia. Sam Kiley, bringing us up to date on that from Moscow, where it is nearly 10.20 in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, the defense chief certainly has some different views on Russia than his boss. Later this hour, why James Mattis stays on at the Pentagon despite his differences of opinion with Donald Trump.

And British Prime Minister Theresa May on the ropes after a tough few days of challenges to her and her Brexit plan.

Back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, in just a few hours British Prime Minister Theresa May faces

questions in parliament after what's already been a difficult week for her Brexit plan. She narrowly won a challenge from pro-European Union lawmakers Tuesday.

They proposed an amendment that would have kept Britain in a customs union after Brexit if there were no other alternatives. It failed by just six votes.

Well, our Max Foster joins us now from London with the very latest on this. So Max, Prime Minister May has been having a tough time of it, hasn't she? What's she up against when she takes questions in parliament today?

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Well, what was very interesting about the vote last night was that she had to get backing from a certain number of opposition Labour M.P's to get a three -- to get it through. Because some of her own backbench conservative M.P.'s wouldn't support the government proposals last night.

So, it just shows what a tight rope she's walking in order to get any legislation relating to Brexit through because everyone is so divided on it. So today, she got prime minister questions.

She's also meeting a committee of committee chair people from parliament. So senior M.P's they are going to grill her about Brexit as well. And in the evening she got a meeting of backbench conservative M.P.'s as well for another round of, you know, questioning and being beaten up really about her Brexit proposals, whether or not she's offering anyone -- anything to anyone, really.

Because if you're pro-Brexit, you're not necessarily happy. The anti- Brexit they're not necessarily happy. What she ultimately had to do to get the support she needed from within her own party was to effectively threaten a general election saying there could be a vote of no confidence in her.

She doesn't get, you know, last night's legislation through which would potentially mean the opposition getting into power. So she's, you know, absolutely torrid week for her, Rosie.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, apart from the Brexit incident, she had to deal with Donald Trump and a lot criticism coming from him. So how likely is it that Theresa May can withstand all this pressure ahead along with rumors of a leadership challenge.

FOSTER: Well, the question is, will there be enough support to topple her in, and just isn't there at the moment. Because as I was saying of this threat of the opposition leader getting into power, instead she's actually using that.

She is -- he is her personally weapon in many ways. One thing to look out for later on will be a resignation speech we're expecting from Boris Johnson who left as foreign secretary last week. He's used his, you know, he's right to have a speech in parliament. And everyone suggesting here that it could be explosive. It could

potentially spark a leadership contest depending on how he wishes to handle it. It is a potential opportunity for him of course, to become prime minister if he topples her.

But will he have the support in parliament to get away with that? That's the big today. But certainly we're all looking to see how tough he's going to be as he goes ahead for that speech. We certainly think he's going to have to speech. It just depends on how tough he's going to be, you know, he could be question why he'd be going to have a speech at all if he wasn't going to be tough.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. One would think that he has made sure showed up some support there. But we will see what happens. Max Foster, many thanks to you for that. We appreciate it.

Well, in the face of growing global protectionism, Japan and the European Union just joined forces for free trade. Their open trade deal cuts tariffs on nearly all goods. The agreement removes tariffs on European exports for just cheese and wine, while Japanese automakers and electronics company face fewer barriers in the E.U.


[03:24:58] SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There are currently rising concerns about protectionism globally. Within this context I believe it is extremely meaningful that Japan and the E.U. are sending a message to the world about the importance of free and fair trade.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Together we are making, by signing this agreement, a statement about the future of free and fair trade. We are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together.


CHURCH: The E.U. president calls it the largest bilateral trade deal ever covering 600 million people and almost a third of the world's economy.

A former U.S. president took a thinly veiled shot at the man currently occupying the Oval Office. Barack Obama during a speech in Johannesburg Tuesday had something to say about the state of world affairs in general, and what he calls strong man politics in particular.

CNN's David McKenzie has more.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In one of his first major address since leaving office, former President Barack Obama didn't name President Donald Trump but he did repudiate the politics of fear and resentment and pointed to the extraordinary times we're living in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA (D), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Given the strange and uncertain times that we are in and they are strange, and they are uncertain. But each day's news cycle is bringing even more head spinning and disturbing headlines.


MCKENZIE: Obama also criticized it seems some of the key platforms of Donald Trump's policies including protectionism, pulling out of the Paris accord on climate change and closed border. He also made pointed remarks about politician's relationship with the truth.


OBAMA: We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they're caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more.


OBAMA: It used -- look, let me say, politicians have always lied. But it used to be if you caught them lying they'd be like, man. Now they just keep on lying. They just--


MCKENZIE: Obama is in South Africa after a brief swing through Kenya. On Wednesday he'll have a town hall with young African leaders where he's bound to ask them to emulate the leadership choices of Nelson Mandela.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.

CHURCH: And earlier in Kenya the former U.S. president thrilled a large crowd at the opening of a youth center. Barack Obama spontaneously got up and started dancing much to the delight of the audience. But he kept it pretty sure and took a seat after just taking seconds. They were happy nonetheless.

Well, Donald Trump is hoping to build a better relationship with Russia after his summit with Vladimir Putin. But one man in his administration is making sure the president's expectations are realistic.

And did Russia get access to the Facebook data of millions of people? What a British member of parliament is saying. We'll have that for you on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back everyone. I am Rosemary Church. I want to update you know on the main stories we had been following this hour.

Donald Trump is in damage control mode after the sharp criticism of his comments about Russia's election interference. He now says he misspoke during his news conference with Vladimir Putin and that he doesn't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia who meddled in the 2016 vote.

Japan and the European Union have signed a massive open trade deal that would cut tariffs on nearly all goods. The E.U. President calls it the largest bilateral trade deal ever. It covers 600 million people in almost 1/3 of the world's economy.

When it comes to the outlook on U.S./Russia relations, not everyone in the White House agrees with Donald Trump. The man who leads the Pentagon has some different views all together. CNN's Barbara Starr, reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's overwhelming optimism in Helsinki about Russia.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Constructed the alliance between United States and Russia. Fords the opportunity to open new pathways towards peace and stability in our world.

STARR: As he attacks America's NATO military alliance.

All in start contras who is very skeptical to his defense secretary who says Russian President, Vladimir Putin is an adversary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin seeks to shatter NATO. He aims to diminish the appeal of the western Democratic model and attempts undermine America's moral authority.

STARR: James Mattis taking a very different view of Russia.

JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY GENERAL: He is immensely gifted, very talented, incredibly brilliant guy who has a perspective of Russia that is now flying in the face of what the President just said.

STARR: Mattis, when asked if Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

MARKEN: Yes, I believe they did.

STARR: On the very day of the Helsinki press conference, a highly respected retired four star chairman of the joint chief of staff weighed in be witting the reason dictators try to undermine democracy to deceived their own population, to discredit alliances, to create the illusion that they are protectors. The world should not be a competition in which only the strong matter. There's no indication Mattis will resign. In fact he is standing firmly on his criticism of Russia.

MATTIS: They have chosen to come in and to undermine the Democratic fabric whether through false news reporting, economic scriptures and interventions. They are not seen as helpful would be quite the most polite way to describe it. STARR: President Trump is hoping for progress with Moscow, undeclared

arms reductions. But even now Russia is developing new nuclear weapons that could attack the U.S. and there is little belief at the Pentagon that Putin would back off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly we have seen in the recent past some statements, whether from Russian officials in the public domain talking about threats to use nuclear weapons.


CHURCH: Well, startling new details are emerging regarding Cambridge Analytica. That is the company that acquire information on millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. Now according to a U.K. lawmaker, that data with access from within Russia. More this from Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was marketed as a breakthrough on how to motivate, change people's minds, and manipulate them to vote or not vote in an election. Using the personal Facebook data of 10s of millions of Americans. Cambridge Analytica develop a voter targeting technic aimed at specifically targeting individual voters, who would receive messages on their Facebook feeds, group chat and even personal communications and it turns out the Russian were paying attention.

DAMIAN COLLINS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE PARTY: The information that the U.K. is saying that she believes that the Cambridge Analytica, Facebook data was access by people in Russia. And we don't yet know --.

GRIFFIN: In Russia?

COLLINS: In Russia, we don't yet know who they were and what they access, whether they took that data and what they did to that, that link has been established in the investigations, clearly it would be really important to understand exactly what the level of access was by people in Russia to this Facebook data and what they did with it.

GRIFFIN: Damien Collins is a British member parliament for the Conservative Party. Who is committee is running an almost identical investigation as its U.S. counterparts looking at Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum. It has focus largely on controversial Facebook user data, the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica and a data scientist name Alexander Cogan.

COLLINS: Greater (inaudible) Cambridge Analytica to receive a large amount of Facebook user data.

GRIFFIN: Alexander Cogan, delivered the data to Cambridge Analytica and now --


(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: There's a new lawsuit over that mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Lawyers for the Mandalay Bay are suing the victims. They say the hotel and its owner, MGM, bear no liability for the massacre that saw 58 people killed. Melissa Reini (ph) has more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Survivors of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history being sued by MGM resort in Las Vegas. The company filed two lawsuits in federal court asking the judge to declare it has no liability of any kind for the massacre last year. MGM wants protection against more than 2500 people who are suing or threatening to sue the company.

[03:40:00] In October a gunman open fired on concert goers from a suite in the Mandalay Bay resort. And 58 people were killed. MGM resorts international is the parent company of the corporation that owns the Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas village where the Music festival was held. The company called the shooting quote, the despicable act of one evil individual, one attorney representing several victims from Texas, had this to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The MGM is trying to beat these people to the court house. And declare they had no right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: MGM hired a security vendor for the event which the company claims protects it from legal responsibility under the safety act. I am Melissa Reini (ph), reporting.


CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles, Attorney Brian Claypool, he represents 75 survivors and family members of the victims. He also survives the October first shooting in Las Vegas. Brian, thank you so much for being with us. And of course you have a unique understanding of how the survivors of this deadly shooting are feeling right now. What do they make of these move by MGM to sue them back?

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is outrageous, it is shocking and in my opinion, it amounts to bullying and intimidation by the MGM and Mandalay Bay. I mean how deep in the swamp do they want to it get and jump to try to save face in the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States. I mean, what they're doing is re-traumatizing and re-victimizing, everybody who survive that shooting, Rosemary, including myself, my clients, everybody else, was there and family members of those who have died.

They actually sued now the (inaudible), people who have died, family members of those as well. And in my opinion, that is reprehensible. They don't need to do this. If they want to seek protection under this nebulous safety act law, that was put into place by our federal government in 2002. Make no mistake about it, Rosemary. They didn't need sue 2500 people. All they had do was go after one individual, one victim and then ask for a court order on that one victim and that would equally apply to everybody else in the case. But no, they wanted pound their chest, they want to be tough, they wanted to go out there with their public relations stunt and say look at us. We're going to get protection. And I got to tell you, I am going to predict right now, this is going to back fire in the court of public opinion when we beat them on this attempt to escape liability.

CHURCH: Well, Brian, looking at it, you have to ask why are they doing it this way, at what is the strength in their legal argument here and one can only assume that most people could be appalled looking at this as a legal argument coming from MGM. Surely this can help them in any way in the end.

CLAYPOOL: Right. Well, there's two issues here. One has legally do they have anything to stand on with this very argument to immunized themselves from liability. The second issue is, how does this look to the community in what they are doing? Let's talk about the first issue, real quick. The first thing they have to prove, Rosemary, is that these claims that they are going to be filed against MGM arose from a terroristic act. The problem they are going to have with that is there was so much media attention by the sheriff in Las Vegas especially. And law enforcement, well, they declares from day one, this is not terrorism, remember all that, this is just an act of one person has nothing to do with terrorism.

So, if they lose on a terrorism issue, then case over for them on this issue. But let's the judge somehow said this is terrorism, they still haven't won, they still have to prove that this security company, I believe it called CSC, well, they hired to help with the concert was effective and as social utility. Those are the exact words. So you can't just say, we hired a company, they were certified by the Department of Homeland Security. It has to be effective security. We are obviously going to make the argument, 58 people died, hundreds others injured. And clearly. That was a not effective security.

CHURCH: Brian, when you look at the situation like these, the gunman was the one who perpetrated this abhorrent crime upon the victims including yourself. Who else can be held responsible in the situation like this? I mean, you mentioned there the contract the security team that was brought in and presumably the MGM will try to put them in the line of fire.

[03:45:00] But in a situation like this and as you say to, it wasn't terrorism, it wasn't ever classified as terrorism in this instance. So, it is just an abhorrent act that had happened, is it possible to sue anyone in a situation like this, in reality. When you look at the facts.

CLAYPOOL: As a survivor of this shooting, I will tell you that in the middle of that first round of shots, when I was ducking down, covering my face, my head, the side of my head, thinking that a bullets is going to hit me in the head and I was convinced I was going to die. Once I made it through that first round and I thought I'd never get on to my little girl. During the second round of shooting Rosemary, I said to myself this, I am going to find out what happened, because this should not be happening and I am going to hold who ever responsible for this accountable.

So, guess what, there was half less security at the Mandalay Bay, I stayed there. I was in the 26th floor of this hotel. Six floors below (inaudible) and I will tell you that there is absolutely zero effective security at that hotel at the casino. And that in our opinion is the cause of this mass shooting and we intend on proving that eventually one day in court. MGM, Rosemary. They don't want the world to see the truth about how bad their security is, so what they're doing is throwing out this Hail Mary, a desperate measures to try to pre-amp liability with this nebulous law to try to strip victims like myself and others from what we believe is a viable lawsuit.

CHURCH: Brian Claypool, thank you so much for talking with us. We will watch to see the outcome of this case.

CLAYPOOL: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thank you. An American pastor, who has been in Turkish custody since 2016 is expected in court today fighting for his freedom. Andrew Brunson has repeatedly denied accusations of espionage and plotting to over throw the Turkish government. His case has been appointed contention between the U.S. and Turkey for months. Our Jomanah Karadsheh is in Istanbul with the very latest on this so, Jomanah, so what is likely to happen when and in the court today and what do we know about this case?

JOMANAH KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, as you recall following that failed coup attempt back in 2016, Turkish authorities detained tens of thousands of people over allegations of blinks to the coup attempt. And one of those people was Andrew Brunson, this pastor who has live in Turkey for 24 years. He ran this small church in the coastal. He was indicted on charges of terrorism, accused of links to the (inaudible) movement. That movement that Turkey says was behind that failed coup attempt. They have also accused him of blinks to the Kurdish militants group the PKK. Brunson has denied all these charges saying that he is being persecuted because he is a Christian pastor. And we've seen U.S. officials, including President Trump pushing for his released.

And one U.S. senator who attended the opening of that trial back in April, Rosemary, described it as a kangaroo court. Saying, that the charges against Brunson were a collection of nonsensical conspiracy theories and describing him as a political hostage, saying basically Turkey was using him to try and pushed the United States for a swap to try and get that U.S. based (inaudible), that Turkey has been asking United States to extradite.

They accused him of being behind that coup attempt and the United States hasn't done so. We've even heard President Erdogan at some point last year suggesting linking those two cases and a possible swap taking place. But we need to keep in mind. This is one of several issue that have really strange ties between these two countries. You know, Turkey has had serious issues with the United States backing the Kurdish militia, the YPG in northern Syria. They disagreed on the situation there on Turkey border. You have U.S. officials taking real issue with this NATO member buying the s400 missile defense system from Russia. And then you also have several issues like the detention of Brunson and other official -- local official who work for the Turkish for the U.S. embassy, the U.S. confidant that has really strange ties. But what we've seen in recent weeks, Rosemary, seems to be warming up in relationship perhaps. Some sort of when movement when it comes to agreeing on a road map in Northern Syria on the city of Mambas (ph).

[03:50:05] Where we are seeing the YPG, Kurdish forces starting to withdraw from that contentious area. Then you have the United States beginning the delivery of the f-35 fighter jets that U.S. lawmakers were against, because of Turkey's purchase of the s400 missile system from Russia, so at least we heard from one U.S. lawmaker, Lindsey Graham this weekend saying that these are all signs he is met with Erdogan, he has met with Brunswick and they are seeing possibly a new chapter in U.S./Turkey relations after what we have seen in the re- election of President Erdogan. In some fields, it could be a positive move for the case of Andrew Brunson. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Jomanah Karadsheh covering that story from Istanbul, Turkey. Many thanks to you. We will take a very short break, we are back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, Elon Musk has apologized for suggesting one of the divers Unsworth, who participated in the Thai rescue mission was a pedophile. Musk offered no proof or context for the accusations. The tweet came after Unsworth said Musk effort to bring a small submarine to rescue the 12 boys was a publicity stunt. Now Musk has tweeted that his actions against me did not just defy my actions against him. And for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.

Well, parts of Southeast Asia remain on alert as two tropical systems are in the area. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, has the details on this. So, where are these systems? There we can see them now and how bad are these, Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, it's going to produce an incredible amount of rainfall. Rosemary it is interesting you were just talking about the Thai rescue operations from just about a week ago. Because these storms one of which going to impact that region. Of course, there is now no one there, but when it come to the amount of rainfall and the threat it poses, kind of talks about how imperative it is to move very quickly across that region. There is some seen back behind it, tropical depression 12. Tremendous rainfall already in place.

The system 65 kilometers per hour, really not a big wind maker, but we it is taking all of that energy is precisely do west. As it does over mount less terrain and I guess what we see here. That is right there around northern Thailand and we have an incredible volume of water moving directly in that direction. And of course when you think about that, it's not just the monsoons that we were concerned about. It was storms just like this.

Unfortunately now, of course all rescue operations have been concluded across that region, but you take a look, the Pacific moisture is plentiful and then this secondary system back behind it will impact there is around (inaudible) and eventually move the north and northwest. We are going to watch that carefully, because this system has the potential to become a typhoon, even if it doesn't though, portions over (inaudible) is certainly and Okinawa become a prime target for this system and in upwards of 100 million of people. If we go all the way towards Shanghai later on the week, could be looking at system here with powerful winds in the forecast as well.

Now the other big story has been the tremendous heat in place. Not only that across Japan, but also big-time humidity. In fact, as of an hour ago in Tokyo, it felt like 45 degrees outside, 114 Fahrenheit, 45 Celsius, what it felt outside, because of how impressively humid it is across these region.

[03:55:09] In fact widespread 40's in the forecast into the afternoon hours of tomorrow across portions of Japan. I mean, you take a look at this, Rosemary, the dangers of multiple days of extreme heat across Tokyo are very real. Like 21 of the last 22 days were it should had been over 30 degrees in a city that should be in the upper 20's in this time of year. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Wow, tough temperatures. Thanks so much Pedram, I appreciate that.


CHURCH: In Washington as President Trump did damage control over recent comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Reporters and everyone else in the room was suddenly in the dark. Jeanne Moss has more on the times the political spotlight falters.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't nearly as dramatic as the time the lights came crashing down. While Bill and Hillary Clinton were preparing for a 60 minutes interview, but when President Trump spoke it's as if the lights were listening.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have full faith in our intelligence agencies. Whoops, they just turned off the lights. That must be the intelligence agencies. There you go, OK. You guys, OK?


MOOS: The president stay calm but Twitter got excited. Putin turn out the damn lights at the White House, red one tweet. The intelligence community has spoken read another. Even the president allowed that it was.

TRUMP: Strange.

MOOS: Strange. The Evangelicals, do you need any more signs from a god ask one critic. Then the Twitter account identifying itself as God shined in, did you like it when the lights went out on him? That was me, but it is not the first time this has happened.

TRUMP: We put them in our jails, because they put them in our jails, they didn't pay the electric bill. Oh, I like that much better.

MOOS: then candidate Trump lit up when the lights went off in Atlanta rally.

TRUMP: No. Get those lights off. Let us go ready. Turn off the lights, turn off the lights. The chanting worked. Too much light, not enough light, nothing to do, but make light of it.

TRUMP: Because I have full faith in our intelligence agencies.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

TRUMP: Get those lights off.

MOOS: New York.


CHURCH: And it's lights out for me. Thanks for your company this hour. I am Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues now with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.