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Butina Had Access to U.S. Gun Groups; Extreme Weather in East Asia; Two Former Macron Bodyguards Face Judicial Inquiry; Tons of Plastic Wash up on Dominican Shores; 14 People Shot In Toronto, One Killed; Trump To Iranian President Never Threaten The U.S.; Trump Calls Russian Election Interference A Big Hoax; Israel Helps Evacuate White Helmets To Jordan; Israel-Gaza Crossing To Reopen Tuesday If Calm Remains. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired July 23, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We continue to follow breaking news this hour out of Toronto where at least 14 people including a young girl have been shot. That is up from nine people that we reported last hour, one of the victims sadly we now know has died. Police say the shooter is also dead. They're now working multiple scenes including outside a restaurant on a major thoroughfare in Toronto. All of the victims have been taken to hospitals. We don't know their conditions yet. We're expecting more details from police in the coming hours. Here's what a witness had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, what did you hear tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several gunshots, lots of gunshots. That's about all I heard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many shots would you say -- how many --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say I heard at least 20 shots in intervals. You know, clip being spent, reloading, clipping spent, reloading, clip being spent. That's what I heard. And then I saw the carnage as they ran down the street here to kind of follow the gunfire, I guess. It's pretty crazy. I saw at least four people shot here by the fountain. As you said someone came out of the restaurant here so I missed that. Another person in Demetrius I assume was shot because there was a lot of action going on there. Towels trying to be grabbed, trying to help people out I guess what they were doing. That's all I saw. And then obviously the police arrived and now I'm standing there watching this. Not cool, not cool at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Again for the moment we don't know what the motivation was behind that shooting. Police are expected to give updates in the coming hours. We'll give you those updates as soon as we get them. Also following more breaking news, the leaders of Iran and the U.S. are escalating their war of words. Within the last few hours, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted this in all caps. "To Iranian President Rouhani, never ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious."
President Trump appears to have been responding to this quote from Iranian state media. Speaking to diplomats on Sunday Iran's president reportedly said, Mr. Trump, we are the honest man and guarantor of the safety of the waterway of the region throughout history. Do not play with the lion's tail, it is regrettable. Peace with Iran is the mother of peace and war with Iran is the mother of wars. President Trump's top diplomats also took aim at Iran on Sunday. Here's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATES: The bitter irony of the economic situation in Iran is that the regime uses the same time to line its own pockets while its people cry out for jobs and reform and for opportunity. The Iranian economy is going great but only if you're a politically connected member of the elite. The level of corruption wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran run by something that resembles the Mafia more than a government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Trita Parsi is in Washington. He is the President of the National Iranian American Council. First of all, your reaction to Donald Trump's tweet and threat to the Iranian President.
TRITA PARSI, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL: I think we're starting to see exactly what the Trump administration's endgame is. I mean, only a few hours after Secretary Pompeo gave a speech in which he essentially tried to portray himself as someone who cares about the Iranian people, we had Donald Trump issue this very, very dangerous and quite unprecedented tweet essentially threatening war. And I think this is a reflection of what the Trump administration has been building towards since the first day he came into office. The killing of the nuclear deal, all of the different things they've been doing has been part of a major pattern of escalation and the question then is, if it's not war that they're escalating towards, what is it that they're escalating towards?
VANIER: Look, the words, the rhetoric in that tweet are very strong yet for the moment do you see this as just signaling, talking tough, we know the U.S. President is no stranger to that or is it more than just signaling?
PARSI: Well, some people would say look he did the similar thing with North Korea and then he went to the table and flew to Singapore and has been quite eager to meet with Kim Jong-un. There's a major difference though. The major allies of the United States around North Korea all want the United States to pursue diplomacy with North Korea because they want to avoid war. The major allies of the United States in the Middle East, however, have a very different view about diplomacy with Iran. They don't want the United States to pursue diplomacy with Iran. They opposed Obama's nuclear deal and they have been on the record of wanting the United States to go to war with Iran.
VANIER: How do you connect this to the Iran Nuclear Deal? We are -- we're kind of an in-between moment with respect to the Iran Nuclear Deal. We know the United States pulled out of it but the deal is not quite dead yet because the European partner is China, Russia as well wanted to keep it alive so and they're looking at what they can do to save it. How do you think this connects to that?
PARSI: It certainly does in the sense that Trump is trying to do everything he can to make sure that the Europeans and the Chinese and others do not have a chance of being able to save the deal. And the more he escalates tensions even if the Europeans really do their outpost to save the deal. It's going to be very difficult for them to convince companies to remain in the Iranian market when Trump is threatening war so all of these things do make the work of the European and others much more difficult to be able to save this deal. And without this deal rest assured Trump will have an even more open opportunity to be able to escalate tensions with Iran even further.
[01:05:58] VANIER: There's a vast U.S. military presence in the region around Iran, opposite Iran, or opposite the Strait of Hormuz, in those waters with a vast navy presence. Do you think that increases the tension there specifically?
PARSI: Anything that is actually not increasing diplomacy and dialogue between the two countries tend to be have an opposite effect and increasing tensions. Right now what is needed is diplomacy between the two countries. What would have been really fantastic is if -- is if the President instead of killing the nuclear deal had built upon that diplomacy. If he is concerned about Iranian activities in the region, well there was an established dialogue that he could have brought in and he could have built on that in order to address those issues. Instead, he decided to turn a triumph of diplomacy into a crisis of choice.
VANIER: Any idea on how Iran might react to this? They are -- they have been an aggressive regime across the Middle East but they are not an irrational regime.
PARSI: Certainly not an irrational regime but also a regime that we've seen in the past when tensions rise and when they are under threat they tend to play a game of tit-for-tat. If the United States escalates, the Iranians escalate. If the United States de-escalates, they will de-escalate. Right now we're in a pattern of escalation and what is quite worrisome is as we go up this path of escalation, the options for de-escalation, the mechanisms for the escalation will become fewer and fewer and that is very dangerous.
VANIER: Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, thank you very much for your early reaction to this tweet which is just about an hour and a half old as we speak. Thank you. PARSI: Thank you so much for having me. Now to the continuing
fallout from President Trump summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin one week ago on Twitter also on Sunday, Mr. Trump reversed course once again on the issue of Russian election interference calling it now a "big hoax." This is the latest in a dizzying string of walk-backs by Mr. Trump since his one-on-one with Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word "would" instead of
"wouldn't." The sentence should have been I don't see any reason why I wouldn't or why it wouldn't be Russian. I accept our Intelligence Communities' 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say you agree with U.S. intelligence that Russia meddled in the election in 2016.
TRUMP: Yes, and I've said that before. I have said that numerous times before and I would say that that is true, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Ryan Nobles has been covering this. He filed this report.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: We did not see President Donald Trump at all this weekend. He was at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey and had no public appearances. And the only way for us to get idea as to what the President was thinking was through his Twitter feed as always and he had a lot to say including once again contradicting the assessment of his own Intelligence Community. The President tweeting "So President Obama knew about Russia before the election, why didn't he do something about it? Why didn't he tell our campaign because it is all of big hoax, that's why and he thought crooked Hillary was going to win.
There was a couple of problems with the President's tweet here. First, once again even though he's gone to great pains to say that he trusts the Intelligence Community he's accusing this assessment that Russia was attempting to intervene in the election as a big hoax. And the second part of that is that the President was told about this problem. In August of 2016, he received a briefing where he was specifically told that the Intelligence Community thought that Russia was actively trying to interfere.
Now, this wasn't the only topic that the President was hot on this weekend, he also had a lot to say about the newly released FISA warrant application that allowed for the surveillance of his foreign policy aide Carter Page. Now, the President believes that this is further evidence that there was a conspiracy against him and that the FISA warrant should have never been issued. But not all Republicans feel that way. Listen to what Senator Marco Rubio had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:10:27] SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I don't think they did anything wrong. I think they went to the court. They got the judges to approve it they put laid out all the information and there was a lot of reasons unrelated to the dossier for why they wanted to look at Carter Page and Carter Page was not a key member of the Trump campaign but -- and the Trump campaign has said that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: And of course, it's also important to point out that that FISA law has -- there's been an opportunity for the Congress to rein it in on multiple occasions and they turned down that opportunity every single time. In fact, just as late as January of this year, they took a look at it and the Congress despite some negotiations decide just to reauthorize the law in its current form. It was President Donald Trump who signed that reauthorization into law, the same law that he is now being so very critical of. Ryan Nobles, CNN Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.
VANIER: As Ryan mentioned, the U.S. President has also accused the FBI and the Justice Department of misleading the courts after they released evidence about Russia's election interference. The target of that evidence is former Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Paige. He's been talking to CNN and he told my colleague Jake Tapper that the accusations in the warrant application are "a complete joke"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER PAGE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: This is so ridiculous. It's just beyond words you know. It's -- you're talking about misleading the courts. It's just such so misleading going through those 400 plus page documents. You know, where do you even begin?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Did you ever advise the Kremlin or work with the Kremlin on anything?
PAGE: Look, Jake, I -- no, I've never been an agent of the foreign power in any -- by any stretch of the imagination. You know, I may have -- back in the g20 when they were getting ready to do that in St. Petersburg, I might have participated in a few meetings.
TAPPER: But you did advise the Kremlin? I mean, I'm just I just want to make it clear. You did advise the Kremlin back in 2013 or 2012 somewhere in there?
PAGE: Jake, that's -- it's really a spin. I mean, I sat in on some meetings but you know to call me an advisor I think is way over the -- over the top. TAPPER: Except in a 2013 letter you wrote that it says, "over the
past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for the presidency of the G20 summit next month for energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda, that's August 2013. That's yourself calling yourself an informal adviser to the Kremlin.
PAGE: You know, informal having some conversations with people. I mean, this is really nothing and just an attempt to distract from the real crimes that are shown in this misleading document.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: There are more and more signs now that (INAUDIBLE) between the U.S. and North Korea might be breaking down. More than a month after the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un, President Trump says things are going well. But according to U.S. official in private, Mr. Trump is frustrated. He is angry at the pace of the denuclearization talks. An official familiar with those talks tells CNN that right now North Korea does not intend to walk away from the negotiations but that the U.S. must make a "bold move to appease North Korea and ensure the survival of Kim's regime." Alexandra Field is reporting from Seoul, South Korea. Where are we? To the to the extent that we know what's going on or that we can understand what's going on, where are we on the denuclearization process? Has there been much progress and where is it headed?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of progress you look back to that historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un and you see that really no concrete action has been taken at all. And certainly there was a lot of frustration after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea meeting with Kim himself was scuttled and it seemed that he walked away from that meeting without much concrete action to report if any at all. That has certainly fueled frustration that you pointed out on the U.S. side. As for North Korea, we have seen some frustration being vented on their side. Not just more hostile language toward the U.S. but also toward South Korea. It has made everyone guess what North Korea's intent really is whether they would walk away.
You've got this source telling CNN's will Ripley that they don't plan to walk away but that they are looking for a bold move from the United States and they've also been looking of course as we know for the lifting of sanctions. That is something that is not negotiable at this point according to Secretary Pompeo who said that just last week at the United Nations.
[01:14:53] He talked about the fact that he is optimistic about the progress of talks toward denuclearization in the future, but maintain that strong sanctions must stay firmly in place and that all parties must do better even to enforce those sanctions. But that hasn't stopped North Korea from using some hostility in its language to the U.S., and also now towards South Korea, Cyril.
VANIER: Alexandra Field, reporting live from Seoul, South Korea. Thank you very much. The five tropical storm systems are pounding parts of East Asia. All at the same time. We'll be taking a look at the forecast from Vietnam, to China, and the Philippines, to see if there's an end in sight.
And a bold rescue in Syria's brutal Civil War. What we're learning about the evacuation of the White Helmets and hundreds of civilians?
KATE RILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley, with your CNN "WORLD SPORTS HEADLINES", we started the Open Championship where Italy's Francesco Molinari has captured his first career major title, and it wasn't easy.
Molinari was a model of consistency with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose on his tail he can afford to slip up. And he held his nerve to shooter 69 for a two-stroke win. He is been on terrific form this year and now he's got a major to show for it.
Next, we're off to Formula One at the German Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton, pulled off a surprising victory. The Brit began the race from 14th on the grid with his German rival Sebastian Vettel starting from pole. Vettel was in control while Hamilton both his way up the field.
Then, as the rain began to fall, Vettel lost control and went off the track, crashing out to the race that then opens the way for Hamilton who cruised to victory.
And finally, they say that teamwork makes the dream work. And that's especially true when applied to a couple of names from the world of sailing. And Dean Barker and Terry Hutchinson won their first title together a decade ago, they've done it again at Quantum Racing Team.
Secured the Rolex World Championship crown in Portugal. Getting the edge in a fairly Titanic jewel with their rivals Azzurra getting the better of the team. But also, the robust Atlantic wins at Flickr.
For your sports headlines, I'm Kate Riley.
VANIER: Sometimes it's the rescuers who need rescuing. We are learning more about a daring mission of the weekend to save members of the Syrian White Helmets.
The rescue volunteers were among 422 civilians evacuated from Syria's brutal Civil War. It appears Israeli troops spearheaded this mission, bringing the civilians then into Jordan.
Israel says it was at the request of the United States, Canada, and European countries. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has more from Istanbul.
[01:20:09] JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the height of the Syrian Civil War, often, it was the White Helmets who were the first on the scene.
With no local police or emergency services, residents in rebel-held areas turned to these Syrian volunteers recognized by their iconic protective gear.
JAMES LE MESURIER, FOUNDER, THE WHITE HELMETS: They have all chosen to risk their lives to save others, and that makes every single one of them a hero.
KARADSHEH: The group rescued tens of thousands of people caught up in a conflict, often, saving the wars most vulnerable. Like this baby girl. After 12 hours of digging and drilling, volunteers finally reached this two-week-old baby trapped under the rubble.
But now, it's the White Helmets themselves were being rescued. A town after town in Southern Syria is reclaimed by the government, there's been increasing concern over the fate of the White Helmets, the regime and the Russian allies have long labeled the group as terrorists accusing them of staging chemical attacks and faking rescues.
In an internationally coordinated mission and an unprecedented move, hundreds of Syrians including White Helmet volunteers and their family members have been evacuated out of the country via Israel into Jordan.
The group will stay there before being resettled in Germany, Britain, and Canada, the three countries, Jordan says have pledged to take them in.
Canada has praised the work of the White Helmets saying, "We feel a deep moral responsibility towards these brave and selfless people." The U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has described the rescue as "fantastic news", and is thanked Israel and Jordan for acting so quickly on the request.
He says the White Helmets are the bravest of the brave. Adding that "In a desperate situation, this is at least one ray of hope." A moment of international action in a conflict where that has rarely brought any good. This time, they may have saved hundreds of lives. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
VANIER: Andrew Tabler, joins me now. He's a senior fellow in the Arab Politics Program at the Washington Institute for Near East policy. He's also the author of In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria.
Andrew, perhaps, start by telling us why Western powers went out of their way to help this specific group, the White Helmets?
ANDREW TABLER, SENIOR FELLOW, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY (via Skype): White Helmets have been pulling people from rubble inside of Syria, throughout the course of the war. They've been supported by Western countries.
And therefore, those Western countries better backwards to get them out of Syria as the tide turned against the opposition, and of course, the most recent offensive in Southwestern Syria was the icing on the cake.
VANIER: But there were other groups that Western countries have worked with or fought alongside during the course of this Syrian Civil War, and they haven't always helped them in the same way that they just helped the White Helmets. They have symbolic value, don't they?
TABLER: White Helmets are civil by nature. They're essentially the equivalent of our Civil Defense. Therefore, named White Helmets, and so, they are not combatants. They, therefore, steer clear a lot of the ideological and military trappings of the Syrian War. And therefore, were seen to be worthy of evacuation.
VANIER: And there -- they were a particular target for Bashar al- Assad, who has since the beginning, not only called them out for getting help from Western countries, his enemies, but also called them, terrorists. In other words, equating them with the rebels he's fighting.
TABLER: That's right, not Bashar al-Assad, our White Helmets, terrorist. Russia also called White Helmets terrorist, liars, and other issues. But, Western countries do not believe that neither do a lot of Syrians, most Syrian, I would think.
And today, over 420 some have been evacuated through the lines due to Israeli controlled areas and hopefully to safety.
VANIER: By the way, I noticed -- and one thing about the timing of this, which is that a week ago, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met, and we believe they talked amongst other things about that part of Syria, the Southern -- the Syria-Israel border.
And a few days later, you have Israel agreeing to help ex-filtrate the White Helmets. Do you think there could be any connection there?
TABLER: It really could be, I'm not privy to the details of the agreement. But it's likely that the two things are related.
VANIER: What does this tell us about where the Syrian Civil War is right now?
TABLER: The Syrian Civil War is grinding down in favor of those countries that are supporting Bashar al-Assad's regime. The problem is, of course, the Bashar al-Assad did not win the Syrian Civil War, it has been on the scene. He won it through in Iranian and Russian military intervention.
So, that outcome is unacceptable to two neighboring countries, one is Israel who fights Iran. The other is Turkey who opposes the role of the Kurds in Northeastern Syria as supported by the United States.
So, that -- those are the very heavy weights hanging on the end of the Syrian Civil War and threats take it into another war in, perhaps, to bring the conflict sideways. [01:25:39] VANIER: Assad and his allies have managed to retake the two regions, or all but retaking the two regions that the White Helmets were ex-filtrated from, Quneitra and Daraa. What are their big targets after that?
TABLER: Idlib province is certainly one. The other would be Northeastern Syria, where the U.S. supported SDF forces, Kurd base forces are prevalent and without waiting to see if the regime has the men and the wherewithal to go after these areas and when.
VANIER: Andrew Tabler, thank you for joining us on the show. Thanks.
TABLER: My pleasure.
VANIER: Meanwhile, Israel's defense minister, says the main commercial border crossing into Gaza will reopen on Tuesday, provided conditions remain quiet.
The announcement from Avigdor Lieberman comes after Israel launched what it called a wide-scale attack against Hamas targets in Gaza over the death of an Israeli soldier. The U.N. secretary-general has urged Hamas and Israel to "Step back from the brink of another war." So far, the ceasefire appears to be holding.
And you may have heard about the Russian lobbyists arrested for being a spy. Wait until you see just how much influence she had in the U.S. political world.
[01:30:23] VANIER: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.
Your headlines today.
At least 14 people, including a young girl, have been shot in Toronto and one of the victims has died. Police the shooter is also dead but they have no other information about him and they're asking the public for help. They're now working multiple scenes including outside a restaurant. All of the victims have been taken to hospitals but we don't know their conditions.
Iranian and U.S. leaders are escalating a war of words. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted this a couple of hours ago. "To Iranian President Rouhani, never ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious."
This appears to be a response to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who was quoted warning the U.S. that a war with Iran is the mother of wars.
President Trump is also reversing himself on Russian election interference. He tweeted Sunday that it's a big hoax and that President Obama knew about Russia and failed to tell his campaign, the Trump campaign about it. In fact Obama administration reportedly informed then candidate Trump in August of 2016 that Russia was trying to infiltrate his campaign.
Meanwhile Mr. Trump slamming the FBI and the Justice Department for releasing evidence surrounding Carter Page. He is the former Trump advisor accused of working for the Russian government. Page denies that. Mr. Trump says it shows the FBI and Justice Department are biased.
When U.S. prosecutors charged Maria Butina of being a Russian spy last week, it opened up a new riff between the two countries. The Russians and Butina say she is just a pro-gun lobbyist who met with high ranking politicians and gun groups for her job. Prosecutors say she's something a lot more sinister than that.
Matthew Chance takes a look at just who Maria Butina is.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She shot directly to the heart of American conservatism combining a passion for guns with an irresistible charm rarely associated with the U.S. gun lobby.
MARIA BUTINA, ALLEGED RUSSIAN SPY: I'm a representative of the Russian Federation here. And I am a chairman of the Right to Bear Arms. It's a Russian non-profit organization.
CHANCE: In fact, prosecutors say she was a Russian agent accessing conservative groups like the National Rifle Association, the NRA, to influence U.S. policy.
It certainly got her privileged access to leading U.S. Republicans like John Bolton, now U.S. national security adviser but back in 2013, an NRA official who agreed to appear in a pro-gun video used by Butina's Russian lobbying group.
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Should the Russian people have the right to bear arms. I can share with you a word about what this particular freedom has meant to Americans and offer you encouragement as you consider embracing that freedom.
CHANCE: Butina's social media accounts feature numerous videos of people shooting guns as well as meetings she attended as a speaker. Her U.S. defense lawyer says she was just an energetic networker and even the Russian foreign minister has taken up her cause with his U.S. counterpart.
In a recent phone call Sergey Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the case against Butina was fabricated and stressed the unacceptability of the actions of the U.S. in arresting her. According to U.S. Court filings Butina offered sex in exchange for a position in a special interest organization in the U.S. and was in close contact with a sanctioned Russian national about her work.
BUTINA: I am visiting from Russia.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Putin. Good friend of Obama -- Putin. He likes Obama a lot. Go ahead.
BUTINA: My question will be about foreign politics.
CHANCE: It's also known that work brought Butina into contact with Donald Trump, the Russian lobbyist asking the then presidential candidate in 2015 about Russia and sanctions.
TRUMP: I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, ok. And I mean where we have the strength. I don't think you need the sanctions.
[01:39:50] CHANCE: Russian media is casting the Butina case as the latest example of anti-Russian hysteria in the United States with Kremlin-controlled television tracking down her father in deepest Siberia to plead her innocence.
"She had to meet lots of different people for her future profession", Valery Butin tells state media. "She did nothing illegal, of that I'm certain," he added. But there's far less certainty in the United States where it remains unclear whether this flame-haired Russian really was just a pro-gun lobbyist or if she had her sights set on an even bigger target.
Matthew chance, CNN -- Moscow.
VANIER: Extreme weather is pummeling parts of East Asia with tropical storms, heavy floods and strong winds. At least 21 people were killed in Vietnam by a tropical depression that caused flash-flooding and landslides. Entire villages ware also buried.
Meanwhile tropical storm Ampil is battering eastern China. Nearly 200,000 people have been relocated from coastal areas and hundreds of flights in Shanghai have been canceled.
And hundreds of villages in the Philippines now are dealing with monsoon rains and flooding from several storms.
Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us with more on all of that -- Pedram.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, there's a lot to it too into this story. Of course we know the fatalities, the people impacted. Meanwhile some 80,000 hectares of land have been destroyed across this region and 20,000 livestock also lost their lives. And of course, all of that plays into the livelihood of a lot of folks across this region.
And really some of the scenes out of Vietnam really shows you the ferocity of the water here and the power behind the water as the storms have been raging in the region. And it's not just one storm but we have five disturbances -- a tropical storm and depressions 13, 14 and 15 sitting in place.
Ampil, of course, to the north; Son Tinh the new storm that impacted portions of Vietnam farther towards the south and any which one of these storms -- you pick them out, they're not very impressive on satellite imagery. They never really gained typhoon strength, or for very long at least.
All these storms have done is just linger over a certain spot for multiple days, a number of day, and produced an incredible a amount of rainfall and this storm in particular actually made landfall then pulled away from land, the second time they're producing additional heavy rainfall and now bringing rainfall toward Hainan (ph) so certainly big time player even though it's not a big time storm just by itself.
But you notice rainfall amounts -- as much of a quarter of meter rainfall have come down in a matter of 36 hours -- tremendous amount of rainfall across this region. And additional heavy rains are still expected. So we think the flash flooding concern is still very high across this region. Southern China certainly northern Vietnam staying under high alert across that area.
To the north -- again another disturbance that doesn't really look all that impressive on satellite imagery -- only 65 kilometer-per-hour winds but the storm was strong enough and enough destruction in place to move 200,000 people as Cyril told you out of the path of Shanghai. And what is left of it moves just east of Beijing where millions more again going to be impacted the next couple of days. And rainfall amount as much as 150 to 250 millimeters over the next several days.
Farther to the south we go -- this is right near Taiwan, another system, a tropical depression only 55 kilometer-per-hour winds, but of course, the mountains of Taiwan certainly don't help here with the flooding that has been in place in recent days -- a lot of rain across the mountainous communities.
And notice where it is headed -- right towards Shanghai. So you would think potentially yet again, people that have been evacuated across this region, all the flights that have been impacted across this region -- all of them could be in for another round here with another system pushing through over the next several days.
And then you notice where all of these storms have originated in the last couple of days. Just about every single one of them -- whether they traversed the west, Cyril or to the north -- they've all kind of meandered near Luzon into the northern Philippines there. That is an area that has paid quite a bit of price with all the rainfall in the vicinity as well.
So a lot of these systems, it isn't the wet season but these are not just monsoonal rains, these are tropical systems that are impacting millions of people -- Cyril.
VANIER: All right. Pedram -- you will continue to follow that for us from the CNN Weather Center today. Thank you -- Pedram.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
Now we go to a deadly ambush on a taxi mini bus in South Africa. Police say 11 taxi drivers were killed late Saturday when gunmen jumped on to the road from bushes and opened fire on the bus. Four other people were critically injured. The victims were traveling back to Johannesburg for a funeral. Police say they don't know who the gunmen are or why they attacked.
In Britain, police have released this photo of three men who may have information about an acid attack on a three-year-old boy. It happened Saturday in a shop in Worcester. He has serious burns on his face and arms. And investigators believe that the attack was deliberate. Police have a suspect, a 39-year-old man in custody. They say the motive for this attack is unclear.
France's president is facing a new crisis. Two of his security officials were caught on tape beating protesters. How that impacts him -- when we come back.
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VANIER: In France a judicial inquiry has been opened into two former bodyguards for President Emmanuel Macron. One of them was caught on video beating protesters in Paris. This was during May Day demonstrations. He was illegally wearing police insignia. The other bodyguard was also involved.
This is the video. That is the man wearing the helmet -- that's the bodyguard. Those -- a judge will decide whether they will face charges. Those could include gang assault and impersonating police. The bodyguards were arrested Friday after a newspaper published this video.
Let's take a look at what this means for the president. He is in the center of the storm. We're joined by CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas, who's also chair of UCLA French and Francophone Studies Department.
How has, Dominic -- Mr. Macron handled this so far?
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, not only Emmanuel Macron but also the people immediately around him. (INAUDIBLE) and the reactions have been far too little and too late. The initial incident occurred on May Day, May 1st. And from what we understand both the ministry of the interior and President Macron found out about this on May 2nd and the initial response was just to suspend the bodyguards and for a couple of weeks' period.
It wasn't until last week when the "Le Monde" newspaper revealed that the actual perpetrator in the video was no less than one of his private bodyguards that this ultimately ended up ending in the public space.
Emmanuel Macron had to respond and now five individuals have been indicted. And the bodyguard himself has been dismissed by the Office of the President. VANIER: Yes. And the bodyguard is not a police officer. Our viewers
have to understand that. He had no business intervening as a police officer in that demonstration.
Macron is already perceived as the president of the elite. This is really not going to help his image to have his bodyguard beat up on a demonstrator.
[01:45:00] THOMAS: Right. And also there's an infrastructural thing, you know, very quickly to say that, you know, in the United States as we well know and the Secret Service is ultimately responsible for the movements of the president.
We know that in France there is a bit of ambiguity about the kind of the private bodyguard realm of the president and then the engagement with the official security services which has led to this and they actually put Emmanuel Macron at the forefront of all this.
And you're absolutely right that he is perceived as being a somewhat detached, aloof president. And this partly comes from his own definition of himself as being this Jupiter-like, dawn of gods in Roman era. And that he is able to kind of shine in a kid of exemplary way over the French people and create a new kind of presidency. I think it's very difficult for him to make that argument both to the French people amid this scandal.
And also in the broader context when he becomes critical of leaders of Hungary and Poland when he himself was embroiled in these incredibly problematic incidents in France that were clearly designed to intimidate demonstrators.
VANIER: And now he's reached a point where it is beginning to actually impact policy making.
THOMAS: Well, one of the cornerstones, if not the major pillar of the Macron presidency, has been legislative reform. It's to make substantial reforms in the French parliament that will allow for faster legislation and the passing of bills and articles.
These complex causes (ph) are currently being debated in parliament and they have been suspended amid increasing calls for a kind of Mueller-like special investigation counsel to look into not only this incident but the potential broader implications as to whether or not this is a common practice, whether or not the Elysees Palace knew about this, and the extent to which there may be other videos or other incidents that will potentially come out. This has the potential to really see some significant heads rolling at the highest levels of the French state.
VANIER: A Mueller-like special counsel -- well that will be something.
Dominic Thomas, our CNN European affairs commentator -- I always enjoy talking to you, thank you. >
THOMAS: Thank you -- Cyril. VANIER: A tropical paradise turned garbage dump -- how one country is getting an overwhelming look at the global problem at plastic pollution.
Stay with us.
JAVAHERI: Let's talk a little weather. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.
CNN Weather Watch here watching the unsettled pattern across the Eastern United States. There's a soggy weather certainly in store while the heat in place around the central portion of the U.S. and very little rainfall to go around in parts of Texas.
[01:49:58] But notice the activity staying around this region from the Gulf Coast out towards the Atlantic coastline where we have thunderstorms abound. The tropics have been quiet, which is great news at least.
But still that won't stop the heavy rainfall that's been in store and mainly around the coastal region of the Carolinas. On other portions of the Delmarva there, a lot of rainfall expected over this week with the thunderstorms in the forecast.
New York City upper 20s, Chicago not too bad remaining dry around 29 degrees, Denver clime hits the lower 30s and southern California has been at it with quite a bit of heat so far this season, yet again climbing up in Los Angeles up to 33 degrees over the next several days.
How about a comfortable setup? Chicago we warm up a little bit which is not too unusual for this time of year but you notice as we wrap up the week there, the temps do want to cool off a little bit. Very comfortable in New York City, considering it is the hottest time of year.
And back towards portions of the intermountain states there watching a lot of wet weather come in. Some of this has to do with the monsoonal moisture that's raining in to the north. Denver could be one of the areas with quite a bit of rainfall over the next week in that region. It will keep the temps at bay across the region as well. Nassau to the Bahamas 31, Havana 33.
VANIER: Plastic bags and bottles make our lives easier but what happens when our trash comes back to haunt us? How would you like to bathe in this sea?
Let's take a look at the pictures. This is Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Huge waves of plastic are washing up on beaches. It's bad for tourists and it's deadly for wildlife.
CNN's Amara Walker shows us.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Lining the Dominican Republic's once golden beaches, waves of trash. The blue water of the Caribbean almost completely obscured, covered in a dense blanket of plastic waste along the shores of the country's capital, a tide of pollution washing up daily.
CYRILL GUTSCH, FOUNDER, PARLEY FOR THE OCEANS: What you are seeing in Dominican Republic on this beach close to Santo Domingo is unfortunately the new normal. This happens everywhere in the world especially in places that we call paradise.
WALKER: Cyrill Gutsch is the founder of Parley for the Oceans, a team of environmental activists organizing a cleanup of the seemingly endless expanse of water bottles, to-go boxes, bags and other plastic garbage. Parley is collaborating with hundreds of authorities and locals in the efforts.
SOLANGE GOMEZ, VOLUNTEER: I love the beach and it hurts to see the Santo Domingo beaches in this state. So these cleaning activities that we are doing should be permanent and I think create an example.
WALKER: After several days of work, officials estimate they have already collected at least 60 tons of plastic. But each day seems to bring a new wave of trash.
A popular tourist destination, thousands flock to the Dominican Republic every year to enjoy its famous white sand beaches and sparkling blue oceans. The mounds of garbage collecting on the shores of Santo Domingo not only threaten the country's appeal to visitors but also its abounding marine life.
A huge quantity of toxic components and plastic and metal are making species sick. And it threatens those which are not resistant to the pollution, threatening biodiversity and threatening the health of all species including humans.
WALKER: The problem is not unique to the Dominican Republic. Environmentalists say an overflow of plastics is leaving a permanent mark on the world's oceans. At least eight million tons of plastic go into our oceans every year, according to a 2015 study in the journal of science which is equivalent to dumping one garbage truck into the sea every minute.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plastic production is set to double in the next 10 years and quadruple by 2020. But what's (INAUDIBLE) about this is that actually plastic doesn't make itself, we make it. And we can reduce the amount that we are making.
WALKER: If not, the United Nations warns there could soon be a day when there is more plastic in our ocean than fish.
Amara Walker, CNN.
VANIER: Do you remember that unified North-South Korea hockey team during the winter Olympics. Well North and South Korea have teamed up again for sports. This time they took home gold at the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Korea open.
A male player from South Korea and a female player from the North played together in mixed doubles. That would be the moment where they beat China 3-1 in the finals. It's the first time in 27 years that the two Koreas have won gold as a combined team.
The names of the mascots for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have been revealed. So what are they? They're blue and white character is now named Miraitowa. The name combines the Japanese words for "future" and for "eternity".
[01:55:03] And the pink and white character now will be called Someity named after a type of cherry blossom. So if you're struggling with how to say it, organizers say the names sounds like "so mighty" in English.
Japanese children from more than 16,000 schools had been given a list of mascots to choose from last year and they were able to vote for their favorites.
One more thing -- some very cool pictures out of Paris. Look at this. So that young woman is 35 meters off the ground. And no, she does not have a net or a safety line, nothing. It took a year of planning and practice to make that happen.
Hundreds of people watched from below. She followed the steel cable up one of Paris' most famous hills to the Sacre Coeur.
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TATIANA-MOSIO BONGONGA, TIGHTROPE ARTIST (through translator): There is always something that is unique to each passage because each one takes place in a different place. Here I have the chance to face a monument which has never happened to me before. It was something new and it was magical to be in front of the Sacre Coeur and to tell myself I am coming. It is quite something.
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VANIER: All right. That's it from me. I'm Cyril Vanier. You are watching CNN.
More world news coming up.
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