Return to Transcripts main page


Donald Trump with his Confusing Excuses; Israel Passes New State Law; Two Towns Evacuated in Northwestern Syria; Google Slapped with $5 Billion Fine by European Commission; U.K. Police Identify Suspects Behind Nerve Agent Attack; President Trump Told Vladimir Putin We Can't Have Meddling; Butina Involved In Gun Rights Movement; Lebanon's Beach Crisis; Thai Boys Describes Ordeal; Social Media Cracking. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 19, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: The White House facing the fallout from the Trump/Putin summit as the president continues sending mixed messages about his view on Russian interference.

Why the passage of a new law in Israel is causing outrage among some lawmakers.

And the boys rescued from a cave in Thailand talk about their difficult journey home and pay a special tribute.

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

Donald Trump is revealing new details about his private meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, including what he says was his very strong warning over interfering in U.S. elections. But what he's saying now sounds a lot different from what he said during their news conference on Monday.


JEFF GLOR, ANCHOR, CBS NEWS: What did you say to him?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A very strong on the fact that we can't have meddling. We can't have any of that. I let him know we can't have this. We're not going to have it and that's the way it's going to be.

GLOR: But he denies it. So if you believe U.S. intelligence agencies, is Putin lying to you?

TRUMP: I don't want to get into whether or not he's lying. I can only say that I do have confidence in our intelligence agencies as currently constituted.


CHURCH: The president's remarks are the latest effort to clean up what many call a disastrous meeting with Putin.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny report from the White House.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's happened again. President Trump contradicting his own intelligence leaders today, saying Russia is no longer targeting the U.S. At the end of the cabinet meeting the president was ask this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Russia still targeting the U.S., Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Press, let's go. Make your way out.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. No.


ZELENY: As White House aides try to clear reporters from the room.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Press, let's go. Make your way out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you don't believe that to be the case?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go. We're finished here.


ZELENY: The president did not answer the question again. More than two hours later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly saying the answer had been misconstrued.


SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president was, he said thank you very much and was saying no to answering questions.

The first thing that the president says after the question was ask was thank you very much and he said no, I'm not answering anymore questions.

I'm interpreting what the president said, I'm not reversing it. I was in the room as well and I didn't take it the way you did.


ZELENY: And adding the president does believe Russia in an ongoing threat.


SANDERS: We certainly believe that we are taking steps to make sure they can't do it again.


ZELENY: The confusion complicating an ongoing effort to clean up the diplomatic debacle of the summit with Putin.


SANDERS: I think he has called them out for interfering our election. He's been tough on Russia repeatedly.


ZELENY: The president also made this claim today about Putin.


TRUMP: There's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia. All you have to do is look at the numbers, look at what we've done.


ZELENY: But that hardly erased what he said while standing alongside to Putin in Helsinki.


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


ZELENY: The president's initial comments today about Russia not being an ongoing threat directly at odds with his hand-picked intelligence chief who said there's no question Russia remains an urgent threat to American elections.


DAN COATS, UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The warning lights are blinking red again. Today the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.


ZELENY: the White House was still consumed with fallout from the summit. After the president said Monday he took Putin at his word.


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

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZELENY: At the first White House briefing since July 2nd, Sanders struggle to explain the firestorm.


SANDERS: To act like he hasn't been tough on Russia, that he hasn't called them out is simply is not true.


ZELENY: So after all of that it was another day of cleanup the second straight day here at the White House on the topic of Russia. Now you may want to say why not give the president the benefit of the doubt on this. The reason that is skeptical as this.

He has repeatedly raised questions if Russia did in fact meddle in the election. He has repeatedly wondered whether the intelligence community was actually right in their assessment of Russia.

So the White House clearly trying to explain what the president meant and hoping to keep him on the same side of the intelligence community.

CHURCH: Joining me now is Larry Sabato, he is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Always great to have you on the show.


CHURCH: So let's start with the White House trying to clarify again what the president said. This time it was whether he was saying no to a question about whether Russia is still targeting U.S. elections.

[03:05:06] You've seen what he said, and then what Sarah Sanders, his press secretary said as an explanation that he was saying no to answering more questions. What did you make of it?

SABATO: Sarah Sanders has almost no credibility. She's earned that because she has lied for President Trump over and over again. And the lies are becoming less and less credible. I'm sorry to be so blunt but I really think it's time for everybody to be blunt.

The president has contradicted himself over and over because his advisors are telling him to say one thing and he's determined to assert himself as president and say what he really thinks despite what they're telling him.

So you go back and forth between script when he's being a good boy and his own real feelings when he's being a bad boy.

CHURCH: All right. So on Tuesday Mr. Trump admitted he misspoke and said the word would instead of wouldn't. Then on Wednesday it's about the president uttering the word 'no' when ask whether Russia is still meddling in U.S. elections, then another clarification that he meant no to anymore questions. So how many of these types of clarifications can anyone presidency

withstand? And what do you think is going on here?

SABATO: What's going on is an attempt by the White House to give Trump's base all the information they need to defend him, which means anything. As long as he has an explanation, no matter how straight and no matter how ridiculous, his base, the people in his base, including many in Congress will defend him on that basis, and that's simply the way it is.

You know, we've had a series now of post summit public opinion polls and I have thought for a brief moment that maybe, just maybe Trump's disastrous performance in the Helsinki might, might change some of the polls, that is lower his approval rating with his base. Nothing of the sort has happened.

Essentially the numbers are the same. He's dropped a point or two. If he doesn't screw up again, he'll be back. He'll have the point or two back in a week or two.

CHURCH: Interesting. And Trump aides they insist the president has been tough on President Putin. He himself has said no other president has been as tough as he has on a Russia. So why didn't Mr. Trump do that when he took the world stage, stood right next to Mr. Putin. He had an opportunity to tell Mr. Putin then and there not to meddle in U.S. elections. He didn't do it. Why?

SABATO: Well, let's remember, first of all he's not telling the truth. This president has no sense of history, no sense of his predecessors. To say that he's been tougher than, for example, Ronald Reagan, just to cite one, is thoroughly absurd.

Now why it is -- why didn't he say what he should have said when he was standing next to Trump -- next to Putin? Because honestly I believe he is cowed by dictators and he also is very fond of dictators. He is attracted to authoritarians. It's what he wishes he could do. He wishes he could govern in that fashion.

CHURCH: Larry Sabato, many thanks, as always.

SABATO: Thank you so much, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It was only a few days ago when President Trump had contentious meetings with fellow leaders of NATO countries. But he did sign a communique that explicitly endorse article five of the NATO charter that an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all members. Well, now he seems to be putting that bedrock agreement into question.

Barbara Starr has the details.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: On the heels of a controversial meeting with NATO allies, President Trump once again questioning the entire point to one of America's oldest alliances.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Membership in NATO obligates the members to defend any other member that's attacked. So let's say Montenegro who joins last year was attack.

TRUMP: Right.

CARLSON: Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?

TRUMP: I understand what you're saying. I've asked the same question. You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people.


CARLSON: Yes, I'm not against Montenegro or Albania.

TRUMP: Right. By the way, they're a very strong people. They're very aggressive people. They make aggressive. And congratulations, you're in World War III.


STARR: It may be no coincidence that Montenegro a tiny country in the Balkans has the American president's attention. Last year, President Trump visibly dismissed the prime minister of Montenegro when he shoved him out of the way at a NATO photo op. And the Russian President Vladimir Putin has been furious that Montenegro is the newest member of NATO.


[03:09:56] MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He has seen multiple countries lean towards the west over the last 14 or 15 years who have asked to join NATO to include many countries that used to be part of the Warsaw pact that used to be part of the Soviet Union. And it irks him that he feels he's being attacked from the alliance and from the United States.

MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I would not be at all surprised that what you heard the president say to Tucker Carlson there last night is derived from what Vladimir Putin told him during those one on one discussion in Helsinki.


STARR: Trump has never been happy that U.S. obligations to NATO could require U.S. troops to come to the defense of other countries. The worry? European allies will feel vulnerable now.


HERTLING: They have seen and heard the president question the collective security agreement, which is NATO. They have seen the president suggest that U.S. commitment to NATO is conditional.


STARR: This year Defense Secretary Mattis making certain to congratulate the newest member of NATO.


JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It's the 29th nation and to see the confidence that they have from a NATO, that is that open in discussion and honest in discussion.


STARR: Montenegro about the size of Vermont has a military force of just a few thousand. It's already sent 20 troops to Afghanistan to help with security and plans to send several more.

President Trump may also want to consider this. NATO invoked the article five mutual defense clauses after 9/11 for the first time, sending patrol aircraft to the U.S.

And since then more than 1,000 NATO troops have died in Afghanistan in the war that was a response to the attack on America.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

CHURCH: And for more on this controversy let's bring in CNN international correspondent Sam Kiley who joins us live from Moscow. So, Sam, let's fact check what Mr. Trump said about Montenegro and his interpretation of article five of the NATO charter. Does he appear to understand its significance?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, he doesn't. He clearly does not understand that article five is an entirely defensive article. If the United Kingdom, for example, or Montenegro, a nation of 620,000 people with tiny army were to invade Serbia, for example. That would be in no way mean that article five could be invoked because that would be an act of aggression.

Article five is about nations being attacked, not attacking. So, I think it's very significant though, that it's part of the sort of Donald Trump's approach to these things, assuming that he knows what he's talking about.

He's deliberately throwing out an obfuscation there, trying to build a constituency of people in the United States, for example, who think that NATO would somehow -- membership of NATO could somehow suck them into World War III.

That is going to be seen and will be seen and has been seen by NATO members as highly incendiary and undermining the whole, the very fabric of the alliance and that will only ultimately serve the Russians.

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a defense pact essentially designed in the post Second World War period as a mutual defense system against what was perceived then as the Soviet threat.

Now from the Russian perspective, Rosemary, the constant new membership, including Montenegro most recently, of countries that traditionally fell under what was then Soviet influence has been both threatening and frustrating undermining Russia's standing in the world, but also from the Russian perspective, very threatening indeed if you see NATO as a potentially aggressive organization.

It was after all the flirtation of Ukraine with NATO that provoked Russian intervention in the illegal annexation of Crimea, and similar intervention prior to that in Georgia, Rosemary.

So it matters a great deal to both sides in this equation. But it's very, very confusing to people when the president of the United States doesn't appear to understand the nature of the treaty. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. A great concern. Sam Kiley, reporting live from Moscow, where it is 10.15 in the morning. We thank you very much.

Let's take a short break here. But still to come, Israel's parliament just passed into law a highly controversial bill that defines the Jewish state. Reaction from Jerusalem, next.

Plus, a record multibillion dollar fine levied against one of the biggest tech companies in the world all over how its Smartphones are marketed.

We're back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Israel's parliament just passed a law that defines the Jewish state. It establishes Israel as the historic home of the Jewish people with the united Jerusalem as its capital.

Our Oren Liebermann has more details and his gauging reaction from Jerusalem.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After an emotional hours long debate that went into the early hours of Thursday morning, Israel passed into law what's known as the nation state bill. This highly controversial bill enshrines in law that Israel is the home, the nation state of the Jewish people

Critics slam the law because although it makes extensive reference to Judaism as the co-principal of the states, it fails to mention equality, a value that is mentioned in Israel's Declaration of Independence. The law also fails to mention democracy or minority rights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who pushed for the legislation all along hailed its passage calling it a defining moment in the history in the State of Israel. "Long live State of Israel," he said.

Most of the law deals with small factors that have little practicable impact. For example, one section says the national anthem, another describes the Israeli flag. These are things that every citizen here in the new Israeli and Arab.

But one of the most immediate effects of the law is to downgrade the status of Arabic. Since the foundation of the State of Israel, Arabic was an official language, now it's been demoted to a language with special status.

Members of the Knesset from the opposition slammed the legislation with politicians from the Joint Arab Party calling it the last nail in the coffin of the so-called Israeli democracy which has been dying in recent years from racist diseases.

Israel is one of the few western style democracies without a Constitution. Instead, the country's executive and legal system are guided by what are called basic laws. It requires an absolute majority for Knesset members to pass and they are harder to change. This nation's state law has been passed as a basic law, giving it added significance in Israel.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

CHURCH: There are new developments out of Syria where the government reached a reconciliation agreement with rebels in Daraa province. And thousands of people have been evacuated from two villages in the northwest.

Our Jomana Karadsheh joins us now from Istanbul with the details on all of this. So Jomana, what more are you learning about this reconciliation agreement between the Syrian government and the rebels?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, as you recall there's this ongoing military offensive since June the 19th that's been taking place in southwestern Syria.

[03:20:01] And so far, the regime with the help of the Russians, has managed to recapture almost all of that part of the country that is Daraa province and Quneitra province. Now, that leaves some pockets that are still under rebel control. That included the town of Noah in the western countryside of Daraa.

But over had past few days there's been intense bombardment and shelling in and around this town and that seems to have forced the rebels to reach an agreement with the regime. They're calling it a reconciliation agreement. Others call it a surrender agreement.

Now the difference between this and other agreements that we have seen in that part of the country is that the rebels there will be allowed to keep some of their heavy weapons. That is because they are on the front lines in the fight against an ISIS affiliate in that part of the country.

Now thousands of residents of this town of Noah are hoping to return back to their homes. They are part of the more than 230,000 people who have been displaced as a result of this military operation in that part of the country, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And Jomana, what about the evacuation of those two villages in the northwest? What will happen to the thousands of people affected? KARADSHEH: Well, we're talking about these two towns, Fuaa and

Kafraya. They are in Idlib province in the northwestern part of the country. They're Shiite villages. They are loyal to the regime. They have been under siege by rebel forces, Islamist forces in this case for years now.

And you know, the United Nations and others have warned about the dire humanitarian situation issue inside the two towns. You know, Idlib province is under the control of the rebels, the only part of the country that remains under their control.

And we've seen these agreements collapse in the past to try to evacuate them but our understand is this agreement was reach to evacuate about 7,000 civilians and fighters from these two town, in exchange some rebel prisoners will be released.

And according to a monitor of the conflict and other sources and activists they say these towns have been emptied out. About 7,000 residents, 120 buses. And this is an ongoing evacuation, moving them from these two towns to regime controlled areas in Aleppo province.

Just a reminder there, Rosemary, that it is civilians on both sides of this conflict that continue to suffer the most.

CHURCH: Yes. I appreciate that. Jomana Karadsheh, joining us live from Istanbul, where it is 10.22 in the morning. We appreciate it.

Well, American tech giant, Google, says it will appeal a $5 billion fine levied by the European Commission. It's the largest penalty the commission has ever imposed and the second time it's handed the company a multibillion dollar judgment.

Google is accused of illegally suppressing competition by requiring its search engine and apps be preloaded on its android phones.


MARGRETHE VESTAGER, EUROPEAN COMPETITION COMMISSIONER: Google has engaged in illegal practices to cement its market position in internet search. It must put an effective end to this contact within 90 days or face penalty payments.


CHURCH: Last year Google was hit with a fine of almost $3 billion in a separate antitrust case.

So let's talk more about this with internet security analyst Hemu Nigam. Thank you so much for joining us.


CHURCH: So what impact will this record antitrust fine of $5 billion have on Google, do you think?

NIGAM: Well, as much as it is a record $5 billion fine, the reality is it's actually less than 5 percent of their revenue which was over 115 billion just I think last year alone, which has gone up from 75 billion a few years back. So at the end of the day it won't change their financial motto, it won't affect their impact on their revenue side or their customer side.

CHURCH: Interesting. We'll get to that in just a minute. But I did want to ask you why the European Union saw a need to find Google and what exactly were those violations.

NIGAM: Well, there were several violations actually. And I think what the European Union and commission is saying is enough is enough. We need to send you a clear message. They were actually fined, I believe, five years ago for $2.7 billion for having competitive violations.

This time they were fined for something similar to what Microsoft has been fined years back when they bundled Internet Explorer with their operating system. And in this case Google is requiring the bundling of their Google Chrome and a download of their search engine as a default setting whenever you want to work with the android program.

[03:25:07] CHURCH: And so, let's go back to that point about the $5 billion thing. It's a fine of that magnitude, five billion. I mean, it's a lot of money. If that doesn't have much of an impact on a company like Google, what it's going to take to get their attention? What do regulators need be doing right now to pass laws that prevent any misconduct and how do they get in front of this, rather than always responding and playing catch up?

NIGAM: Well, that's the greatest question, Rosemary. Because the reality is first five billion is actually half of what they could have fined them, which was up to 10 billion which I find rather interesting that they didn't do that.

But secondly, I think regulators start an investigation, it takes them three years, four years, five years to complete it. And by that time the company they're investigating has actually succeeded by using the very misconduct they're being accused for. In this case Google bundle were accused of that, five years later they were awfully successful in doing it.

So I think the reality is if you want to have an impact, think ahead. What are the kinds of things that a company could do that are anti- competitive that are going to create market dominance on a monopoly level and then implement either laws or regulations globally that do that, so that companies don't pick and choose what form they are going to operate certain types of conduct and other forms -- or other types of conduct in other forms.

CHURCH: And you mentioned that they could have been fined $10 billion but they weren't. Why weren't they do you think?

NIGAM: I'm actually not sure about that. I'm surprised they weren't because these press conference and the news around this and the comments made by the European Commission are all centered around a historic fine. But if a historic fine doesn't have an impact, it becomes historically useless. So I think that's why -- I'm not quite sure why they didn't do it, but

I think next time around there won't be that leeway that the company gets.

CHURCH: All right. We'll --- right. We'll continue to watch and see what regulators do going forward. Hemu Nigam, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

NIGAM: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Call it the K word. What kind of kompromat or compromising information could Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump? We'll take a look.

Plus, the Russian woman now accused of trading sex for political access. What a U.S. judge has decided.

We're back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. I'm Rosemary Church.

Well, this breaking news for you. Police in the U.K. say they have identified two suspects who they believe poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter last March in Salisbury, England.

[03:30:08] The alleged perpetrators of the nerve agent attack have not been named at this time. but investigators say they left Britain soon after the attack. An inquiry opens Thursday in to the poisoning of another couple from the same nerve agent. One of those victim died. And we will of course have more on this next hour.

In other headlines Israel's parliament has passed a law that establishes Israel as the historic home of the Jewish people with the united Jerusalem as its capital, but it down grades the status off Arabic from one of the state's official languages to one with special status. Arabs makeup approximately 20 percent of Israel's population and almost 40 percent of Jerusalem.

Donald Trump is changing his tune again on Russia's interference in U.S. election. He now says he gave Vladimir Putin a very strong warning against meddling during their meeting in Finland. Mr. Trump says he holds the Russian President personally responsible and that it must not happen again.

Well, the FBI director is adding his voice to the course of those who bring with U.S. intelligence community on Russia attacking the U.S. election. That of course puts him at odds with his boss, the U.S. president who down plays or disregards Russia's actions. In his first comments since the president's press conference with Vladimir Putin, Christopher Wray says the Russians did it and that Russian efforts to influence the American people are still very active.


assessment has not changed. My view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and they continues to engage in more influence operations to this day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aimed at our political system?

WRAY: Aimed at sewing discord and divisiveness in this country. We have yet seen an effort to target specific election infrastructure this time, but certainly other efforts what I would call influence operations are very active and we could be just a moment away from it going to the next level. So, to me it's a threat that we need to take extremely seriously. And are respond to with, you know, fierce determination and focus.


CHURCH: President Trump's meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and especially the news conference have revived questions about what hold the Russian President may have over his American counterpart. As our Bryan Todd reports, it is all about possibly compromising information or what Russian's call compromat.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Putin, thank you very much.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The President's stunning embrace of Vladimir Putin in Helsinki has again fueled questions over Putin's possible compromat, leverage over the President. It has members of Congress and others looking for answers. Putin was asked about it flat-out in Helsinki.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the Russian government have any compromising material on President Trump or his family?

TODD: Neither Putin nor Trump ever answered no. Putin deflected when referencing Trump's now controversial trip to Moscow in 2013.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (TRANSLATOR): President Trump was in Moscow back then. I didn't even know he was in Moscow.

TODD: Putin said, how can he possibly keep track of all the American businessman in Russia at a given time?

PUTIN: It is difficult to imagine other nonsense on a bigger scale than this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that Putin did know that Donald Trump was in Russia during the event in question, we know that Putin was invited to the Ms. USA Pageant and that he ultimately declined to come. So, we know that he knew that Trump was there.

TODD: Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow was meant in an uncorroborated dossier by a former British spy which contain a number unproven and highly salacious allegations that Russian authorities may have recorded Trump watching prostitutes urinate in a hotel suite. There is no indications such a tape exist and Trump has vehemently denied it. Former FBI Director, James Comey, said Trump asked him to investigate.

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: He said not even 1 percent chance my wife thinks that is true. It is terrible. I remember thinking how could your wife think there's a 1 percent chance you are with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow.

TODD: But there could be other compromat. Following the Helsinki exchanges. Republican Congressman Mark Stanford is calling on Trump to release his tax returns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tax returns would have to show foreign earnings. So, he has claimed that he earns nothing from contact with Russia. That might not be the case that would be something that would have appeared in his tax return.

[03:35:00] TODD: There were attempts by the Trump organizations to develop properties in Russia. High dollar sales by Trump of his U.S. properties to Russians, including this mansion in Palm Beach. Donald Trump Jr. in 2008, saying quote, we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. All potential deals were Putin could have compromising information on about the president. Something which analysts say is a specialty of the former KGB operatives and his intelligence services.

SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We know that the Russians are very active. When they identifies someone who maybe an influential individual, who identify someone who could potentially exercise leverage over, they go after that individual. They redouble their efforts to collect that information.

TODD: President Trump has said if Vladimir Putin had compromising information on him, it would have been out a long time ago, but analyst say, it is very likely that we'll never know what exactly compromat Putin has on Trump. They say the whole point of having compromising information is to hold it over your rival, extract concessions for as long as you can, because as soon as Putin releases what compromat he has on Trump it will be useless. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: U.S. prosecutors say a 29-year-old Russian woman arrested as a foreign agent attempted to gain access to politicians in exchange for sex, Maria Butina, pleaded not guilty to charges she try to influence American political leaders on Russia's behalf. Prosecutors say she is a flight risk and was making plans to leave. The judge ordered her held, but Russian officials say her arrest was time to disrupt the Trump-Putin summit.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): According to the statement on the website of the U.S. justice department, she is charged with acting as a foreign agent without registration. Despite that accusations (inaudible) just look strange.


CHURCH: Butina has a long history of political activism during her time in the United States. CNN's Matthew Chance reports from Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She appealed directly to the heart of American conservatism.

Combining a passion for guns with a youthful charm.

MARINA BUTINA, GUN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I'm a representative of Russian federations here and I'm a chairman of the rights to bear arms, it is Russian nonprofit organization.

CHANCE: An online profile says Butina was born in Siberia a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and spent that childhood navigating the rocky transition from communism to capitalism. She apparently launch a chain of small furniture stores in her hometown before moving to Moscow where it says her interest in expanding the rights of average Russian citizens, soon caught the attention of the most senior leaders of the Russian federation. Butina's gun lobbying also got her privileges back in United States, including the National Rifle Association. John Bolton, then an NRA official, now U.S. national security adviser appeared in a 2013 video used by Butina's organization to encourage Russian government to loosen gun laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should the Russian people have the right to bear arms?

AMB. JOHN BOLTON, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I can fair with you a word about what this particular freedom has meant to Americans. And offer you encouragement as you consider embracing that freedom.

BUTINA: I am visiting from Russia, so my question --

TRUMP: Good friend of Obama-Putin.

CHANCE: Page though, Butina's gun lobbying also brought her into direct contact with Donald Trump, the Russia asking the then presidential candidate at a public libertarian event in 2015, without Russia and sanctions.

TRUMP: I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin. OK. And I mean when we have the strength.

CHANCE: While Butina has denied the allegations against her, comparisons have been made between her and Ana Chapman, the flame head Russian agent who gains (inaudible) and celebrity after being arrested in United States as part of an illegal spy ring in 2010. According to U.S. court filings, Butina offered sex in exchange for a position in a special interest organization during her work in the U.S. It all raises questions about whether Butina really was just a Russian gun lobbyist or if she had her sights set on another target. Mathew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


CHURCH: Their flight captured the world's attention. Now the Thai boys rescued from a flooded cave are back home. Ahead the rescue in their own words. And still to come Lebanon likes to boast about its beaches, but you won't believe what a top scientists there tells us.

[03:40:00] The garbage is bad enough, but the water is an ecological disaster. We set a team to take closer look.


CHURCH: Updating you now on our breaking news. According to a source police in the U.K. say they have identified two suspects who they believe poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter last March in Salisbury, England. The alleged perpetrators of the nerve agent attack have not been named, but investigators say they used aliases and left Britain soon after the attack. They were identified using facial recognition technology, but they were not known to be a spy or participated in other attacks. An inquiry opens Thursday to the poisoning of another couple from the same nerve agent. One of those victims died and we will have more on this story next hour.

For more than two weeks 12 boys and their football coach were trapped inside a flooded cave in Thailand. The world watched and celebrated when divers managed to get them all out safely. Now they are back home. Some of them took part in religious ceremonies in an ancient temple on Thursday. Earlier after they left the hospital they spoke with reporters describing in their own words what they went through.




CHURCH: It is a remarkable story and a great happy ending. We like those.

Well, parts of Japan are dealing with the hottest temperatures in more than a decade and it has been deadly. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now from the International Weather Center. So Pedram, what sort of temperatures are we talking about here?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know we are talking about the lower and middle 40's, Rosemary. So this has been a multi-day, multi- week now. That shaping up your impacting about 110 million people. So we're talking roughly 9 out of every 10 people here impacted by extreme heat. From (inaudible) south towards Kyushu were the heat in the seas as warm as 43 to 45 degrees Celsius. But I want to show you something here, because by definition a heat wave from the world meteorological organization says it has to be five degrees above average for five consecutive days. We have gone on nine consecutive days so far in Tokyo above average. In (inaudible) forecast, there's going to be at least six more consecutive days above the average temperature of 28 for this time of year.

So you keep that in mind, we are talking over a two week period with extreme heat in place over Tokyo and in fact beyond that as well, with a 30 degree temperatures. In fact only 23 times this year we had 30 degree temperatures, 22 of them have happened in the past three or so weeks. So, this has been a run of heat that really has not brought any breaks. And unfortunately, the humidity is extremely high of course we know the (inaudible) surrounded by water here. That are pumping in tremendous moisture and we have additional flooding, so the soil is saturated from recent weeks, all of that is evaporating in the atmosphere and really keeping it extremely humid.

And that is your body's quickest way to be able to efficiently cool itself is through sweating. Of course we know, 37 Celsius that is your core temperatures. That is where you want it to be. Once you bump that up to 40, that is when your nervous system begins to fail, your organs begin to shut down. That is a dangerous set up and your body of course reacts by sweating. When that sweat evaporates off your skin is when you see some cooling take place on your skin. Unfortunately because of this humidity, that is not happening very effectively and that is why at least a dozen lose their lives. About 10,000 that have been hospitalized. And it is as uniform as it is, really from the north to the south, ranging from about 40 degrees in Tokyo down to 43 in farther reaches there in the southern prefectures.

That is one element of the heat there. Want to really shift the attention. Take you out to another place, it is rather unusual to the extreme heat. We are talking about North of the Arctic Circle, this is the past 24 hours. Places across Sweden, Finland, and Norway have temperatures in to the lower and middle 30s. 22, 17. That is about what is normal for this time of year across this region. And in Stockholm, incredible runoff heat among the hottest temperatures we've seen in quite some time here for areas this far to the north. Rosemary, in fact it is warmer north of the Arctic Circle today than down in Madrid. So that kind of shows you the amount of heat we are talking stretching to the north.

CHURCH: Doesn't make sense. All right, thanks so much, Pedram. I appreciate it.

Well, Lebanon once prided itself on its beautiful beaches, but now they are a toxic mess and the ecological crisis has become an embarrassment. Our Ben Wedeman, went to take a look.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lebanon, sun drenched land of sea, sand, surf and trash. This small country on the eastern Mediterranean is grappling with ecological crisis years in the making. On land and its sea. Diving instructor, Ahmed Furhad, took us on a tour on Beirut's coastline, above water we went through areas wreaking like a public toilet. Animal in trails bobbing in the murky green water. And under water, off Beirut's the famed Cornies, we found a sea bed littered with cans, bottles plastic bags. Somehow fish still thrive in these waters. Anglers try their luck at the mouth of the sewer. Lebanon has plenty of positive environmental laws on the books that exist only on the books. (Inaudible) has been diving here for 12 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be honest, so far, a lot of a regulation needs to be applied. And a lot of those that are already available as rules and regulations are being ignored.

WEDEMAN: Three years ago piles of rubbish snaked through the city when land fill reeks capacity. The trash was finally (inaudible) -- winter rains washed the garbage into sea which then threw it back on to the coast.

[03:50:12] Many of Beirut beaches are littered with garbage, left by resident desperate for relief for city's long, hot and humid summers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lebanon, we are destroying our environment.

WEDEMAN: Dr. Michel Afram, head of Lebanon's State Agricultural Research Institute, does not minced his words, everyone is to blame for this country's mess.

DR. MICHEL AFRAM, HEAD, LEBANON'S STATE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE: We saw garbage everywhere. In mountains, in hills, in rivers, in the sea and we have to change it.

WEDEMAN: From the research institute collects water samples from the sea. For analysis in the labs. The findings consistently show a toxic cocktail in the making.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Waste coming from hospital, waste coming from industrial zone. We have a lot of possibility to be contaminated or to catch a bacteria or to catch a chemical material or heavy metal.

WEDEMAN: But it's hot, it's summer and a day at the beach is hard to resist. Ben Wedeman, CNN.


CHURCH: U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May enjoyed a bruising day of criticism over her newly hatched Brexit strategy known as the checkers agreement. Boris Johnson who are resigned as Foreign Secretary over the new approach, delivering a blistering critique in his resignation speech. He praised the Prime Minister's original vision for Brexit, but says her government has become plagued by self-doubt.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: It is not too late to save Brexit. We have time in these negotiations. We have changed tact once and we can change again.


CHURCH: Some of the harshest words for the Prime Minister came from so-called Brexiteers within her party. They complained the checker's agreement is Brexit in name only.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the Prime Minister inform the house at what

point it was decided that Brexit means remain?


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, BRITISH: Can I say to my own defense at absolutely no point because Brexit continues to mean Brexit?


CHURCH: The government proposed parliament begin its summer break five days early, but didn't get support to bring it to a vote. We will take a short break here, but still to come, how social media is mocking President Trump with jokes and memes for misspeaking about Russian interference in the U.S. election. Back in a moment.


CHURCH: It was totally predictable that social media would go wild over President Trump's claim that he misspoke about his beliefs on Russian election meddling. Our Jeanne Moos, reports on how his contradictory words are being mocked.


[03:55:03] JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We wouldn't be surprised.

TRUMP: I said the word would instead off wouldn't.

MOOS: If President Trump started a trend. Singer Richard Marx was right here waiting to mimic the President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be right here waiting for you.

MOOS: Tweeted Marx, I misspoke, meant to say I wouldn't be right here waiting for you. (Inaudible) gave them to someone else. And Queen has just reported.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will, we will rock you.

MOOS: That they meant to say we will rock you. So I guess journey meant for us to stop believing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't stop believing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to give you up

MOOS: Maybe Rick Ashley meant to say that he really would give you up. Never would not going to give you up, would not going to let you down and it's not just song lyrics that are getting the Trump treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay here. I'll be back.

MOOS: Oh, no he won't. Memes range from the President saying I meant Mexico wouldn't pay for the wall, you will. To Kim Jong-un saying me too, I meant I wouldn't denuclearize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Melania is now saying that at their wedding she meant to say I don't.

MOOS: What a difference and meant makes, even departed stars were resurrected. From the other side, Whitney issues a press statement, clarifying, won't always love you.

Even Darth Vader corrected himself. Luke, I misspoke yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am your father.

MOOS: I meant to say am not your father. Luke's reaction is pretty similar to how the President's clarification was greeted by critics.

TRUMP: I said the word would instead of wouldn't.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: I don't see any reason why it would be.

MOOS: New York.


CHURCH: Everyone's getting in on the act. Thanks for your company this hour. I am Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. Love to hear from you. The news continues now with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.