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Trump's Twitter Tirade Could Spark Real War; Former Obama Officials to be Punished by Revoking Security Clearances; North Korea Keeping Its Promise; Wildfires Inferno Continues in Greece; Anger Grows Over Former Aide Filmed Beating Protester; Rescuing The Rescuers; Spike In Acid Attack Across U.K.; All Caps Rant; President Trump Versus The Wild. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 24, 2018 - 03:00   ET



CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: Iran says be cautious, responding to Donald Trump's Twitter tirade, using the U.S. president's favorite means of communication.

And the French president's violent bodyguard. Emmanuel Macron and his government in hot water over this video. We'll be in Paris.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to one of the last truly wild places on earth.


VANIER: CNN travels to Alaska as the Trump administration threatens to allow unchecked drilling for oil and gas.

Live from the CNN center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. Thanks for joining us.

Iran is firing back in the Twitter war with Donald Trump. The country's parliament speaker saying a short time ago, that the U.S. president is, quote, "following silly diplomacy."

Earlier, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted, "color us unimpressed." The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And he ended it with "be cautious," a direct quote from Donald Trump's own tweet.

Now Mr. Trump took aim at Tehran on Sunday after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that war with his country would be the mother of all wars. President Trump went all-caps with his response, tweeting that "If Mr. Rouhani ever threatens the U.S. again he will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before."

Critics say the sudden focus on Iran could be an attempted destruct from the president's performance at the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more from the White House.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump using all-caps to reassert himself on the world stage, following last week's summit with Vladimir Putin where friends and critics said he appeared weak to the Russian president.

This time Trump taking aim at Iran, tweeting, "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."

At the end of a long weak of ranting with the Russia investigation, tensions with Iran escalating as Trump responds to President Hassan Rouhani's warning that a war with Iran would be the mother of all wars.


HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Mr. Trump, don't play with the lion's tail, this would only lead to regret. You will forever regret it.


ZELENY: The White House insisting today it wasn't the president who was inciting war.


SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has been, I think pretty strong day one in his language towards Iran. He was responding to comments made from them and he's going to continue to focus on the safety and security of American people.


ZELENY: Trump's threat reminiscent of his warning a year ago to North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.


ZELENY: That shot across the bow ultimately leading to a one-on-one summit in Singapore last month. But officials tell CNN stalled progress on the North Korea talks is among the things contributing to the president's frustration.

All this as special counsel Robert Mueller is set to open the first trial of the Russia investigation. First up is former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, facing corruption charges.

VANIER: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reporting there. Let's head to Iran right now with Ramin Mostaghim, he's a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He joins me from Tehran. Ramin, tell us a little bit more about the Iranian mindset.

When they look at is we saw the reaction from the Iranian foreign minister and now from the Iranian parliamentary speaker again.

I just want to say his words again. U.S. President Donald Trump is, quote, "following silly diplomacy." Does that mean they're not taking his tweets seriously?

RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, REPORTER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Yes, indeed. On the surface, it is, they don't take it serious. The officials, I mean, the foreign ministry, the whole apparatus, but what (AUDIO GAP) for the people in the street and salaries people (Inaudible) these people who have to try their best to make ends meet, this is further misery, further problems, further devaluation of the local currency against the hard currency, dollars, euro, and others.

So it adds up to their problems daily basis. And of course some people, they don't have any reactions and they are just reacting in a sort of apathy and they don't care, because for years, these sort of threats, civilized or uncivilized, verbally harsh or non-verbally harsh, they have received it.

[03:05:06] So for the majority of the people, it seems only tension of escalations -- I mean, escalation of tensions and leads to something which is translated more and further economy and financial misery for common people in Iran.

VANIER: So I wonder then, if this war of words is as you explained bad news and misery for the people of Iran, could that end up giving the Trump administration leverage over Iran?

MOSTAGHIM: Somehow, yes. If the diplomacy or secret talks doesn't work, yes, it might give leverage, because -- I mean, the devaluation of words cannot go without any limitation. There should be some limitation, there should be some ceiling.

And this, if it goes as it is, it will give leverage unfortunately to Trump administration.

VANIER: Next month, the new American sanctions are kicking back in, the sanctions against Iran. Is Tehran preparing for this?

MOSTAGHIM: On the surface, and on the paper, yes. Farsi news and other -- I mean, there is a research center for the parliament. They have given a road map to the government. It should be approved by the parliament. It should be approved by the cabinet ministers, but there are some things, but most of the items are written confidential.

So we don't know exactly what is the secret agenda of the government to deal with this economy crisis. But even the ranting between officials, Trump ranting against Iran, trump verbal war against Iran, it is working against Iranian economy situation.

So I can say, if the verbal wars can do damage and be detrimental to the Iranian economy, let alone the real sanctions and war mongering rhetorics, and God forbid, maybe even confrontation in the Persian Gulf.

VANIER: Well, fortunately, we are not there yet. Ramin Mosaghim, reporting live from Tehran, thank you.

Let's try and get some insights into this. David Rohde is standing by. He is a CNN global affairs analyst and the online news director at the New Yorker. David, do you believe Mr. Trump moves the U.S. closer to conflict with Iran, or for the moment, you see this as just words?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I do think this moves the U.S. closer to conflict with Iran. You know, this is talk at this point, but the renewed sanctions will take hold in August and November, that will prevent not just U.S. companies from doing business with Iran, but European companies, any company that does business with Iran will face these tough new sanctions.

So that kind of economic pressure, you know, is -- will definitely increase tensions.

VANIER: So this threat just a month before new sanctions kicking in against Iran, that sounds like a strategy, a deliberate strategy?

ROHDE: Well, it sounds like a strategy. It's just, what happens if, you know, these economic sanctions don't produce, I assume, the street demonstrations that the administration is expecting, where people will rise up in Iran and topple the current government, if that doesn't happen, what is their strategy? And that's, you know, not clear at all to me.

VANIER: Is that really what the administration is banking on?

ROHDE: Well, again, so the second element of the strategy was the speech the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave last night in California, and a real, you know, theme of the speech was the need for Iranians to have, you know, self-determination. You know, he was very vocal in attacking the current leaders of Iran, saying they're all corrupt.

So it seems to be an effort, you know, to instigate some sort of protests that as happened in spring, those economic protests. But again, it's not a very clear strategy, but this is what I see so far in terms of the tweet and the speech by Secretary Pompeo.

VANIER: And I was looking for clues of what was actually happening on the ground, especially with respect to the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf. They have not changed their military posture. In fact, very recently, they have taken away some of their assets from the Persian Gulf. What does that tell you?

ROHDE: I guess that, you know, we are not -- there's no sort of imminent planning for any kind of military action against Iran. So that just, you know, leads us back to this question of how. How is this going to happen?

And I fear there's an optimism amongst some of the president's aides, or maybe President Trump himself about how easy it will be to somehow, you know, remove the Iranian government.

[03:10:04] Of course, there's the question of, if the government were to topple, you know, what happens then? Who runs the country?

VANIER: I want to read you a line from Jennifer Rubin's editorial in the Washington Post. She says this. "Commentators might become alarmed that Trump's rhetoric will set off an escalation that leads to increasing conflict on the ground in the Middle East tinderbox. Instead, we should be more concerned that we have no Iran policy to speak of." What do you think of that?

ROHDE: I think that's -- again, I'm not in these meetings and I don't know what's happening, but there's a pattern of this White House ignoring the advice of experts inside and outside the government. You know, these are hard problems.

The president, you know, won the election, in part, by promising sort of easy solutions to foreign policy problems, to domestic problems. So, you know, I don't see a clear policy. I don't see this, you know, somehow toppling the government of Iran being as easy as this White House claims it to be.

VANIER: But, look, you've told us what the White House's leverage -- or potential leverage could be, which is new sanctions starting to kick in a month from now, and we've got now threats, which are not nothing, from the U.S. president. What -- what are the cards that Iran can play?

ROHDE: I think they can continue the Iran nuclear deal, working with European powers. I think they can wait. They might be in better, you know, better economic situation than people realize, and then they have forces stretched out, you know, from Lebanon across Syria, Iraq, to Iran as well. They're believed to be active in Yemen.

So there's many ways, through their proxies they can pressure the U.S. and its allies. So, Iran is, you know, a very large country that has very large, you know, resources, and a highly developed military intelligence service. So any conflict would not be a simple one and, you know, again, the idea that this government will simply cede power, you know, I think it's overly optimistic.

VANIER: David Rohde, thank you, as always. A pleasure speaking to you. Thanks.

ROHDE: Thank you.

VANIER: President Trump is considering an unprecedented move, to silence and punish some of his most outspoken critics.

The White House spokesperson said he's considering revoking security clearances for six former national security officials including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Now Clapper, who has indeed been very critical of Donald Trump, says the move would be very petty.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I had no prior official notification that my clearance was under consideration for revocation. So it was quite amazing. I didn't know what to make of it at first and was a bit speechless to tell you the truth.

I think after having reflected on it, to me, I think this is a real abuse of the clearance system. Just to use it to attack political opponents or people that have been critical of the president.

And you know, is that now going to become a criterion for obtaining a clearance anywhere in the government. Is a pledge of loyalty to President Trump? And so, of course it has all kinds of First Amendment implications, which are deeply disturbing.


VANIER: Two of the people Sanders listed, James Comey and Andrew McCabe no longer have security clearances.

We're also following developments out of North Korea and possibly, possibly a step toward denuclearization. A monitoring group says that these satellite images show Pyongyang has started to dismantle some parts of a key missile test site.

Alexandra Field is in Seoul, South Korea. Run us through, Alexandra, the pictures and whether they're really a good sign for denuclearization.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Cyril. What you're looking at are pictures of the Sohae satellite launching site. And this is a key site because it was considered critical to the development of North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile.

What you're seeing in the images is activity that's believed to have happened within just the last few days, dismantlement of sites at that launching station. These would be various facilities where launch vehicles were developed and tested, along with engines for rockets and engines for ballistic missiles.

Now, yes, this does look from the pictures like a step in the right direction. What does it really mean? Well, analysts say it's not a major step towards denuclearization in itself, that's because North Korea of course does claim to have already successfully built its nuclear program and already successfully developed nuclear weapons. So that would make the need for these testing sites less essential.

[03:15:04] However, analysts are optimistic about this. They do say it's a significant step forward, more from a diplomatic perspective. And that's because this could keep North Korea in talks with the United States at this vital moment, a time when frustrations are mounting reportedly with President Trump himself about the slow pace of talks for denuclearization.

The dismantlement that appears to be happening at this site would be evidence that Kim Jong-un is making good on one of the commitments he made in Singapore, which was to dismantle an engine test site in North Korea.

So certainly this could be seen as evidence that North Korea is acting in good faith and wanting to engage in further discussions with the United States.

Again, this all comes at a time when we've been talking a lot, Cyril, about the frustration over the facts that talks with North Korea have been moving very slowly and there has been no tangible evidence of progress, of agreement on steps that can be taken to actually achieve denuclearization.

VANIER: All right, step by step we'll see if this goes in the right direction. Alexandra Field in Seoul, thank you.

Japan's killer heat wave continues. People are trying to cope with the scorching temperatures. We'll get the expertise of the CNN weather center after the break.

And cue the sports metaphor, a critic legend in Pakistan is running against two families who have dominated Pakistani politics for decades. We'll have a live report from Islamabad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are changing the world everywhere, so fast. But why not leave a few places unspoiled.


VANIER: Well, he is talking about an untrammeled landscape in Alaska which President Trump is considering opening up for oil and gas drilling. We'll have a special report.


VANIER: Well, there's excitement in Pakistan, but there's also fear ahead of the milestone election on Wednesday. It is just the second time in the country's history that a civilian government will transfer power to another civilian government. But attacks by militant groups during the campaign have left voters concerned for their safety.

Meanwhile, a cricket legend and national hero is hoping to claim victory in these elections. We'll have the details from Kristie Lu Stout.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN HOST: For the first time since he left sport for politics, Imran Khan believes he could be on the cusp of victory. Pakistan's election is imminent, and his movement for justice is now neck and neck with the ruling party in the polls.


hopeful. I'm confident. But still, you know, the match is not over until the last ball is bold.


STOUT: The cricket star is running against two families who have dominated Pakistani politics for decades. His main rival the PMLN is the party of Nawaz Sharif. He has been prime minister three times, but is now in jail on corruption charges, leaving his brother Shehbaz Sharif at the wheel.

Trailing in third is the PPP led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. His mother, Benazir was the country's first female leader, assassinated on the campaign trail. But at age 29, he is a political novice and his family's popularity is waning.


ZAHID HUSSAIN, PAKISTANI JOURNALIST: Imran, after 18 year being in the fringes of Pakistani politics, he's now smelling victory, and that is probably his last chance.


STOUT: Khan began his journey on politics more than two decades ago. He was already a national hero. One of the greatest cricket players in history who led Pakistan to its first and only World Cup victory in 1992.

Four years later, he entered politics. His promise, an end to corruption amongst the country's ruling elite. In 2013, his center right party won the second largest share of the vote. And today, his hard-line on political wrongdoing is resonating with even more voters.

"I will prove to you that we can have a government here in which neither a corrupt prime minister, nor a minister, will go scot-free," he says. But there are rumors the military is intervening to back his bid. Claims he and the generals deny.

Allegations of military interference have dogged this campaign. Politicians and journalists say they have been threatened. Nawaz Sharif is casting his 10-year jail sentence for corruption as part of a conspiracy to keep his party from office.

And to add to the tension, a spate of bombings at political rallies, including a suicide attack that killed at least 149 people. All this casts a shadow over what should be a milestone in this country's history, only the second time that one civilian government has handed over power to another.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

VANIER: CNN's Sophia Saifi is in Islamabad. She's been covering the election campaign. Tell me a little bit more about Imran Khan's appeal. Because he's been in politics for nearly 20 years as Kristie was telling us. What is it that today has him running neck and neck with the political powerhouses of Pakistan?

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Cyril, you know, you have this very young population in Pakistan. According to the UNDP, 60 percent of Pakistanis are actually under the age of 30. And they have come of age at a time, you know, when they've seen Imran Khan be their cricket demigod. They've adored him, they've, you know, praised him to the moon.

And it now seems that these voters are going to come out and finally get Khan that seat that he's coveted for so long, to finally become the prime minister of Pakistan.

Now bearing that in mind, along with that surge of popularity that Khan enjoys across Pakistan, there is that kind of conversation that's taken place that he does have the backing of the military. He's very conservative, he's center right. His policies are not very different from the PLMN, his arch nemesis either.

You know, there have been accusations by the opposing parties that they have had candidates who have stepped down under influence from the military and are now running as independent candidates.

And those candidates, when push comes to shove and we get those polling results tomorrow evening, it all depends where they will sway. And if they sway towards Khan's party, that might end up, you know, giving him that extra push to becoming prime minister and forming government. Cyril?

VANIER: You say Imran Khan's policies are not all that different from those of his rivals. So what's really driving this election? Is it the name recognition, the celebrity, or is it the policy platforms?

SAIFI: Well, you know, a lot of analysts and journalists say it should be the policy platform. Pakistan is suffering from a great economic crisis. There's also a massive water shortage in that country -- in this country, but that isn't really being discussed. That hasn't been discussed on the campaign trail at all.

It's mainly been, you know, name recognition or corruption or finger pointing or accusations. It's been a very dirty campaign with a lot of name-throwing. You've got former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sitting in jail along with his daughter at the moment.

You've the former prime minister's brother hurling accusations regarding Khan's family, his previous playboy persona. So policy factors have really not been taken into consideration in this election cycle at least.

[03:25:03] VANIER: Sophia Saifi, reporting live from Islamabad, thank you.

The political image of French President Emmanuel Macron is in jeopardy. He's facing accusations of a cover-up involving a former security aide. We'll be in Paris next.

Plus, they risked their lives to save others in Syria. Now dozens of White Helmets volunteers, rescuers, and their families, could find safe havens from the war zone halfway around the world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people live here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About 150 year round.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think about 150 people live on my floor of my apartment building.


VANIER: And more of that. We'll go to Alaska, where President Trump wants to drill for oil, putting millions of acres of pristine wilderness and the wildlife that inhabits it in jeopardy.


VANIER: Welcome back to the Newsroom here. I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's get you the headlines.

Iran firing the latest shot in a Twitter war with Donald Trump, advising the U.S. president to be cautious. Mr. Trump warned Tehran over the weekend if it ever threatened the U.S. again it would suffer consequences like few throughout history.

The White House says President Trump is considering revoking security clearances for six former national security officials who have been critical of him. They include former CIA Director John Brennan, who called the president's comments alongside Vladimir Putin, treasonous.

Authorities have identified the gunman in the Toronto shooting rampage. They say he is Faisal Hussain.

A 10-year-old girl and an 18-yar-old were killed and more than a dozen people were wounded when he opened fire in the city's Greek town neighborhood Sunday night. The assailant also died. His family said he had been struggling with psychosis and depression.

Officials say the death toll from wildfires in Greece has jumped to at least 49 now. More than a hundred people have been injured as wildfires continue to rage in and around the town of Rafina, not far from the capital Athens. Intense winds have complicated fighting the fires.

Journalist Elinda Labropoulou joins us on the phone from Athens. Elinda, what can you tell us first of all, about where the fires stands right now?

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST: We have three main fronts at the moment, according to the last reports that we got from the fire service. We have strong winds in the area. And they're talking about a very difficult day of operations ahead. A lot of -- a lot of international help is also pouring in at the

moment. Greece has asked for international assistance after declaring a state of emergency in the area.

But the level of destruction continues to rise as the confirmed death toll has risen to 49, with over 150 people injured.

[03:30:00] And as time passes, there are fears of many more dead as the fire services keep getting calls for many more missing.

Most of the confirmed victims were trapped in the seaside resort of Matti, about 40 kilometers northeast of Athens. And they died either in their homes or their cars while trying to flee. According to the local mayor, hundreds of houses have burned completely. And what we can see from here is images of really complete destruction.

The Greek media are already talking about a national tragedy. We can see the big clouds in the sky. It's very hot. You can smell the fire in the area. And what's important to understand and why we had so many dead, is that this is an area where many Greeks, many Athenians have their holiday homes. It is a time where many families were at home, where children were on their school holiday break. So it made it very difficult for people to flee on time.

And those who did basically tried to get to the nearest beaches, some of them got trapped trying to get there and many actually reached the water. Many stayed by the water for many long hours. And some even jumped in boats to try to get away. What we do know is at the moment, there are hundreds of firefighters battling the blazes. There are helicopters. Basically all means available are being used to try and put the fires out.

VANIER: Linda, I want to ask you another question. Does the fire department have the resources it needs to contain this, or does it need outside help?

LABROPOULOU: Well, Greece is no stranger to wildfires, we have wildfires pretty much every year. The last large wildfires that we had were in 2007, and at the time, 77 people were confirmed dead. So Greece has dealt with emergency situations before, but the government did ask other European countries for helicopters. It did ask for additional firefighters to help tackle the fire. So certainly any help can be of use.

VANIER: Linda Labrapulum (ph), thank you very much. We appreciate you coming on the show. It's a very, very sad state of affairs right now in Greece with that death toll hitting 49, and likely to increase.

A French President Emmanuel Macron is facing the biggest scandal yet in his young presidency. One of his former security advisers has now been charged after being caught on this video beating up a protester while posing as a police officer. This happened in early May, but the aide was not fired until last Friday, days after this video emerged and following a massive public outcry. Our Melissa Bell in Paris has been closely following this. Melissa, it doesn't get a whole lot worse than this. Your bodyguard beating up on a protester. How is the President handling this?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Cyril. The images themselves are pretty shocking. And of course as you can imagine, here in France, have been shown over and over again on French television in the media. And of course this scandal seems to have grown from day to day. There is the original incident, shocking as it is, but then of course there is this cover-up. There really is no other word for it. After all this Presidential aide was set aside, quietly suspended for ten days. It was only after the press got wind of this video, some month and a half after it was first made -- the interior ministry, and the police were first made aware of it, that he was in fact and the judicial procedure was engaged. So, that is the real scandal that Emmanuel Macron is facing, and it appears really over the course of the last week or so to have grown day after day.


BELL: The cameras were ready for the arrival of France's interior minister, amid calls for his resignation, Gerard Collomb, was to be grilled by M.P.'s over scandal involving one of Emmanuel Macron's aide. Collomb's defense that it had not been for him to act.

GERARD COLLOMB, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER (TRANSLATOR): I was informed about the video in the afternoon the next day by mu Chief of Staff. He told me he had already spoken to the police commissioner and the president's chief of staff. The problem was dealt with at the appropriate level.

BELL: The video in question is this one. Shot on May 1st during police clashes with demonstrators in Paris. By the very next day, the police and the interior ministry were made aware of it, because the man delivering the beating while wearing both a police helmet and an arm band is a civilian identified as Alexander Benalla, a Presidential aide, who was a senior security adviser for Emmanuel Macron.

[03:35:04] At first, he was merely suspended and only sacked Friday just days after the video was picked up by the French press. Benalla said he'd been invited to observe the demonstrations alongside French riot police. He is now been placed under formal investigation as have four others. As the row has grown, so too have questions about how the scandal might affect President Macron.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The brand Macron is damaged forever. It will be very long before it gets to the same story-telling, the same energy, saying you have to trust me. Well, start by telling the truth. It's all that we ask.

BELL: Which is why all eyes were very much on France's parliament on Monday, where M.P.'s heard not only from the interior ministry, who said this was a matter for the presidency. Paris's top policemen did the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): For me, it was established that the Benalla case was being handled by the hierarchy court authority he answered to. And that is exactly what happened. Mr. Benalla, was summoned by the chief of staff and sanctioned. BELL: But the sacking of Mr. Benalla seems to have raised more

questions than it answered, with growing calls for the President himself now to address the matter publicly.


BELL: The fact, Cyril, that both Paris's top cop and France's interior minister passed the buck so clearly so really it does put the pressure now on Emmanuel Macron with some calls that he himself should appear in front of this parliamentary commission.

VANIER: So do we know if the President is actually going to talk, I mean, publicly address this?

BELL: Well, so far, they really have said he will speak when the time is right. There is very little chance that he will appear in front of the commission. The constitution simply doesn't allow for the president himself, to be questioned by M.P.'s in that format, but it is, I think, going to seem at one point necessary for him to address this publicly.

I mean, at one time, he has to speak about it publicly. And in a sense, his silence grows more deafening with every day that this scandal grows louder. And there's no sign for the time being of it subsiding. And I think that -- that is because it speaks to two things, Cyril, about the way Emmanuel Macron has governed.

First of all that he came in with none of the infrastructure of state that the more traditional parties that have shared power for much of the last six years have at their disposal when they arrived. So that it was almost inevitable that some rogue elements within his administration might be found, but also, he is seen as such a strong president, who act often unilaterally in a very determined way always and that he simply has too much power, and I think those are the things that make him particularly vulnerable with regard to this scandal.

VANIER: Melissa Bell, we will keep following it and you will keep analyzing it for us. Melissa, thank you very much, reporting live from Paris.

Dozens of members of Syria's White Helmet volunteer rescue groups and their families may find a safe haven in Canada. Germany is also offering to take in some of the volunteer rescuers. They're now in Jordan, after being evacuated from Syria. But as CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports, hundreds of other White Helmets are still trapped in Syria's war zone.


JOMANAH KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While more than 400 Syrians, that is members of the White Helmets and their families were successfully evacuated over the weekend in this unprecedented international effort, we're being told by other White Helmet volunteers who remain trapped in southwestern Syria, that 300 people were unable to make it this weekend. They say they were unable to reach the evacuation point, because of the security situation, because of military operations in the area. And that the regime had set up checkpoints around there. Of course the regime has at this point recaptured almost all of that part of the country after they launched that offensive there last month.

So these trapped members of the White Helmets are appealing to the international community to countries that were part of this operation this weekend, to save them. They say it is a matter of life and death, but they are told -- they were told on Monday by their organization, by the White Helmets, that there will be no other evacuation, and that they should take up the regime on its offer. This is an offer that the Syrian government, once it recaptures areas, it has been making to people there who do not want to remain under government control, that they can move to Idlib province in the north.

That is the last remaining province under opposition control, but these volunteers say there is no safety in that. They fear what might happen to them if that they're caught on the road to Idlib. They say they are living in a constant state of fear right now. That is because for years, the Syrian regime has accused them of being terrorists. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


VANIER: Four men are now under arrest in connection with a suspected acid attack on a 3-year-old boy in the English City of Worcester.

[03:40:02] The boy suffered serious burns to his face and arms when he was attacked at a home goods store on Saturday. The motive though is still unclear. Unfortunately these incidents are happening more and more in the U.K. Britain saw a 74 percent rise in acid attacks just last year. Our Erin McLaughlin looks at the lasting damage they leave.


MUSA MIAH, ATTACK BY ACID IN 2016: Even till now, I get nightmares about it.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In 2016 Musa Miah's life changed forever. Whenever he was attacked with acid.

MIAH: My eye lid was burnt completely. So they had to use skin graft from here and put on my eye lid. And for my face, they had to get from my head.

MCLAUGHLIN: A year into his treatment, CNN sat down with Musa who recounted how a cocktail of acid was thrown in his face. He was just trying to stop a fight.

MIAH: It's this feeling like you can't describe. So bad, the pain of it is really, really bad. It feels like your face is just melting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you need some water?

MCLAUGHLIN: The growing problem. In the last three years, the number of acid attacks in the United Kingdom has tripled. The attackers, mainly teenage boys and men, are using chemicals to carry out a range of crimes. Moped robberies, gang violence, revenge, even just random attacks.

The chemicals are easy to find, cheap to buy. Corrosive substances like ammonia and bleach that are in many household cleaning products and sold in corner shops, but while the materials to create the acid are cheap, the aftermath is costly. A study released this month estimates acid attacks cost Britain $80 million a year. The government is moving to tighten laws. If pass, new legislation would make it a crime to carry a corrosive substances in a public place without good cause. Musa's offenders received six and nine years respectively, but he says no punishment compares to his life sentence of disfigurement.

MIAH: I used to get people staring at me, it is like they are looking at a monster or something. This is something really bad. You've changed someone's life. You don't feel the same.

MCLAUGHLIN: Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.



VANIER: In Japan, the fire and disaster management agency says 65 people have died and more than 22,000 have been hospitalized during the past two weeks.

[03:45:03] This is part of a record-setting heat wave. Japanese officials are urging people to find cool spaces, to drink plenty of water, after the mercury topped a record 41.1 degree Celsius on Monday. Asia has been particularly hard hit this summer by extreme weather. Our Pedram Javaheri, was telling us about that yesterday and he is telling us about that today. Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. It's been tropical systems, the heavy rainfall and of course now the extreme heat. Heat often is the number one weather killer around the world. And unfortunately, it's playing out across portions of Japan. As Cyril was talking about, the 41.1 degree observation, in fact was the single hottest temperature ever observed in the country of Japan that happened Monday afternoon. It is about 106 degrees Fahrenheit. That occurred just northwest of Tokyo in Kuma Goya. So it really talks about the significance of this event. And you take a look, we're running a good 10, 11 degrees above average in the hottest time of year, where it should be about 30 degrees, running close to 40 degrees in a lot of these locations.

In fact, you take a look, this is what it feels like outside, when you factor in the humidity this afternoon, 41 degrees in Tokyo. Notice, a bit cooler by Wednesday afternoon, but still into the upper 30s and still, well above the average of around 30 degrees for this time of year. So, potentially some changes for the better. The extreme heat had been in place. In fact, this has been the pattern for about 30 consecutive days. But notice what happens. It pulls away, get a brief break here coming now from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Potentially slightly cooler temperatures.

And in fact seasonal temps return early next week, which again for this time of year is pretty hot temps, but that is what we're expecting by the beginning of next week. So here's how it plays out over the next seven days. Notice, we introduce some rain, some cooler temperatures, for the first time since the 26th of June. Mind you, it's almost the 26th of July. For the first time since the 26th of June, temps dropped below 30 degrees and maybe even stay there for a few days before the rebound comes back with warmer air sometime early next week.

And we'll leave you with this, looking at the ten hottest years on our planet, in fact, the last nine years, going back to 2005, nine of the ten hottest years on record have occurred since 2005, and look at the three hottest years on record, 2017, 2015, and 2016. So this kind a shows you the trend of where we've been. And certainly 2018 could be very much along the same territory of extreme heat in places like northern portion of Scandinavia, we see extreme heat and of course also parts of Asia dealing with this as well. Cyril?

VANIER: Fingers crossed that things get better and temperatures drop in Japan. Pedram, thank you.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

VANIER: Nine million acres of pristine wilderness in remote, northeastern Alaska. It looks like this. It is stunning. We'll take you on a tour. It's been untouchable until now. Drilling for oil in the arctic national wildlife refuge is a very, very real possibility. For and against, that battle is raging as we speak. CNN's Bill Weir shows us what's at stake.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is magnificent. Wow. Way up at the tip top of Alaska, an airplane can feel like a time machine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see up there? A bunch of little babies running around.

WEIR: Because the arctic national wildlife refuge, commonly known as Anwar, is the kind of pure wilderness most of America paved over long ago.

This is it. We are in the heart of the arctic refuge.

Welcome to one of the last truly wild places on earth. The coastal plain brims with life from musk, oxen to bears, both grizzly and polar. Birds that will migrate to the backyards of all 50 states, but as Florian Chills has captured over the years, the most common creature is the caribou. And not just a few, but hundreds of thousands. The kind of herd unseen since the plain's buffalo were wiped away. When Florian is here with his family, he can't help, but wonder how long it will last.

Do we need to keep some of these places untouched? We are changing the world everywhere so fast, but why not leave a few places unspoiled.

For almost 60 years, that was the rational that protected Anwar from this. These are the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay that fill the famous pipeline and power countless lives, but since there are billions of barrels elsewhere, nature lovers have long argued there is no need to drill here. And for decades, that argument held. Until --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One day a friend of mine who was in the office, called is this true? That you have Anwar in the bill? I said, I don't know, who cares, what is that? They said, well, you know, Reagan tried. Every single President tried. I said you got to be kidding. I love it now. And after that, we fought like hell to get Anwar. He talked me into it.

[03:50:05] WEIR: December's tax cut bill also opened Anwar to drilling thanks to Alaska Senator, Lisa Murkowski, who slipped in the provision knowing that it would only need 51 instead of 60 votes to pass.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R), ALASKA: It is wrong for those from the outside looking in, who have taken a nice trip into an area and said, this must be protected.

WEIR: But conservationists point out there is already a huge glut of American oil.

Oil companies are laying people off up here, right? Because prices are so low?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oil companies have been laying people off. And you know, for the first time in the last five years, I was seeing more oil company workers leaving the state of Alaska and going to places like North Dakota, than coming into the state.

WEIR: But much like Trump's efforts to revive dying coal mines, the rush to drill here seems driven more by politics than economics.

Former Speaker of the House once said, if we could drill in Anwar, it will break the back of the environmental lobby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they haven't drilled in Anwar yet. We know that the arctic regions are heating twice as fast as any other part of the world, and it just makes zero sense to come here and look for more oil that is just going to exacerbate that problem.

WEIR: And among those opposed, is the (inaudible) nation the northernmost tribe of Native Americans.

How many people live here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 150 year round.

WEIR: Wow. I think about 150 people live on my floor of my apartment building.

Their numbers may be tiny, but they are definitely not outsiders. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Archaeological evidence shows we've been here

over 25,000 years.

WEIR: And the only reason they survived is caribou. Back in the day, they would trap the animals in these hand-made corrals. These days they use guns and snowmobiles, but still need the animals to survive in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in America. Groceries at the midnight sun can cost twice as much as the whole foods in Manhattan. Gasoline up here runs $10 a gallon, but still given the choice between oil, money, and caribou, there's no debate. These folks will stick with the one animal that is kept them alive for thousands of years. And they cannot imagine drills and trucks and pipelines across what they call the sacred place where life begins.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look what happened to the plains Indians and the buffalo. That is not going to happen to my people. We're not going to allow that to happen again.

WEIR: They are a Native American David against a goliath of oil companies, Republican lawmakers, and the (inaudible), a coastal tribe of native Alaskans, eager to drill and cash in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that the U.S. is saying we can finally do this, now we have the other side, the environmentalists saying we can't do this. What's wrong with this picture?

WEIR: As the government rushes towards development, community meetings lay bare the fight, tribe versus tribe, neighbor against neighbor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have thousands of gallons discovered in places that have already seen destruction, but restraint is what we lack. When did we all become owners of the land? It has always owned us.

WEIR: Bill Weir, CNN, Alaska. Alaska.



CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST: The moment Donald Trump tweeted his threat to Iran in all caps, regardless of how serious it actually is, you could just tell that that would get his critics and the joke going. Well, it did. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You've got to give the President a tip of the cap. He certainly capitalized on using all caps to get attention.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shouting in all caps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All caps, Iran tweet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just did a whole thing in caps.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He shouldn't have done it all caps. That means you're yelling at the person, right?

MOOS: Right. Yelling at Iran's President. Let's have a recap of what he said in all caps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never, ever threaten the United States again, or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.

MOOS: Turns out the President's all caps rant is contagious. Imitators addressed their tirades to the cat. Never, ever threaten the house plant again, or you will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.

To their co-worker, never, ever microwave fish in the break room again or you will suffer consequences. Never, ever stay at home on an election day again, or you will suffer the consequences. We'll end up with a childish President. Tweeted someone else, so when will you tell Russia to stay out of our elections in all caps?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. Doesn't that ring a Bell?

TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury the likes of which this world has never seen before.

MOOS: He threatened North Korea, then shook and made up.

TRUMP: So I think the rhetoric, I hated to do it. Sometimes I felt foolish doing it, but we had no choice.

MOOS: Will President Trump someday admit he felt foolish tweeting Iran in all caps? Doubtful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you'd woken up on this all caps tweet, threatening war with Iran, you'd think he probably belongs in a padded cell.

MOOS: Forget the cell, where President Trump is locked is the caps lock. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


VANIER: That is it from me. Thanks for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier. The news continues with Bianca Nobilo in London. You're in great hands. Have a great day.