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Trump to Meet with E.U. Leader; Ivanka Trump Shutting Down Her Clothing Company; Does Russia Have Kompromat on President Trump?; Neighbor vs. Neighbor in Alaska Oil Battle; Laos Dam Breaks And Floods Nearby Towns, Hundreds Missing; At Least 74 Dead As Wildfire Rage In Greece; Israel Downs Syrian Fighter Jet Over Golan Heights; Pakistan Military denies Favoring Cricket Legend; Trump: Russia Will Attack Midterms To Help Democrats; CNN Obtains Secret Trump-Michael Cohen Tape. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired July 25, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, washed away. After heavy rainfall, a dam under construction collapses in Laos flooding entire villages and leaving no trace of hundreds of people. Plus the European heat wave spots deadly wildfires in Greece. Some running into the sea is their only chance to survive. And despite all the denials from Team Trump, CNN has the recording of Donald Trump and his former fixer talking about how to pay off a former Playboy Playmate alleges an affair with the President a decade ago. Hello and thanks for joining us everybody, I'm John Vause and this is NEWSROOM L.A.
We begin this hour in Laos where lives have been lost. It's not known how many but we do know hundreds remain missing after the collapse of a hydropower dam. five billion cubic meters of water were released. The owners of the dam which was under construction say heavy rain caused the number of fractures and may have already led to the collapse. CNN Nikhil Kumar is live this hour. So Nikhil, what's the very latest on the rescue efforts, also that appeal which was made for emergency supplies like drinking water and medicine.
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: That's right John. So they're trying to get drinking water, medicine supplies, and both we've heard from the U.N. which is meeting later today alongside other NGOs as part of a task force with the government to coordinate the rescue efforts. The details right now are sketchy but what we do know is quite worrying. Hundreds of people as you said are missing. As many as six villages we understand what inundated with water when this dam collapse occurred on Monday evening, local time. As you say the cause from the electricity company it sounds like there was heavy rain in the area. This filled up a reservoir and that led to this collapse. Six thousand people as I say rendered homeless from what we understand. The South Korean construction company which was helping build this dam has been under construction for a number of years was meant to be operational -- fully operational this year. It cost about $1 billion.
The company said that it had about 53 people -- fifty-two South Korean people on site but they were evacuated thankfully ahead of the flooding. No such luck for the villages. The company is now sending in teams to help with the rescue. They're helicopters, boats alongside, as I said, the NGOs which also working with the government. The Prime Minister there has suspended a regular meeting of the government so he can focus on the rescue and relief efforts and everyone is now just focused on trying to get in and make sure that the people who are there can be taken to safety. The images that we have seen the entire area seems to be flooded you know, in a sea of muddy water. You can see the tops of structures and this rush now to get to the people stuck on the top of these structures to get them to safety and to get them as soon as possible. John?
VAUSE: Nikhil, thank you so much for the update there on what has been a tragic couple days for many in Laos. Thank you. Well, we go now to Greece where the death toll from those wildfires now stands at 74. The Prime Minister has declared three days of mourning. Some survived the country's worst fires in a decade by running into the sea. Melissa Bell reports now from the fire zone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Here in Mati to the east of Athens there were some of the worst wildfires that gripped the region beginning yesterday. A few fires that progressed so quickly that for the many families and campers and tourists who were here in Mati enjoying a break and a holiday about 40 kilometers from Athens it was simply too late to escape. The flames advanced so quickly we're told by locals and the intensity of the heat was such that those who were inside Mati were trapped between the flames and the ocean and those who were outside and trying to get in like the firefighters simply couldn't do so.
Hundreds did make it the ocean were rescued, 26 were found in a field still clinging to one another as they would have been when the flames engulfed them. And this is a country now dealing with a stage of emergency with its morning all at the same time because even as Greece comes to terms with in sorts of tragedies, it continues to battle fires elsewhere. Melissa Bell, Mati.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, let's take it with Pedram Javaheri at the CNN International Weather Center. Pedram, of course, the forecast in these couple days is what everyone is looking at. Now, is there relief on the way? Also, clearly this is a country which is dealt with so much you know, for financial crisis eased out to this. I guess here it is stretched thin in trying to deal with one of the worst disasters in a decade.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's a great point, yes it absolutely is. And you know, of course, we look at the immediate forecast and see what Mother Nature has in store the next couple of days. And the rain is there. It's really important to note across this part of the world when it comes to rainfall often in the summer season. Any rain does fall comes with the expense of some thunderstorm. And oftentimes we get dry thunderstorms and what that is essentially is you get rain out of it but really negligible amount of rainfall and the lightning strikes become a concern.
[01:05:23] And you take a look the temps at least cooling off that really doesn't do much for the fires themselves but for the firefighters certainly gives them a little bit of a boost of being able to put more effort into fighting the flames across that region so we do have at least a brief period of cooling. And frankly a couple of days ago we were considerably warmer than this. But again when you look at dry thunderstorms, a big concern with them besides the fact that lightning strikes potentially igniting additional flames are that when you have these winds from gusts ahead of them and these gust fronts really begin to kind of allow the flames to fan out even more which is something that we saw on Monday.
Of course, extreme heat that was already in place it was 38 degrees on Monday afternoon. We had four consecutive hours of winds gusting up to 80 km/h. So you kind of do the math of that and if you've got an active fire situation there on the ground and if you've been across this part of the world, you know it's very hilly, very mountainous terrain and of course we have some areas of mountains rising near the vicinity of the fires, the west of Athens there as high as 1,300 meters. So these really allow -- the hills allow the winds to really pick up speed and intensity and of course, the winds can also heat up by compression as they come downstream.
And on the eastern side of town, these are the beaches the tourists were flocking to get away from the dangerous situation that was playing out on Monday afternoon across that region with the powerful winds. But a way to look at this is the climatological pattern because very comparable to Southern California where you are John there. We know in places such as Los Angeles on average you get about 375 millimeters of rainfall per year, in Athens just a little bit more than that about 414 millimeters of rainfall per year but only the one glaring difference is that in fact, it has actually been wetter than average for the early portion of summer so far here across Athens. But again we had a period of very warm weather the last couple of days and the gusty winds associated with that really allowed these fires that were in place there to take off, John.
VAUSE: The heat and the wind that low humidity it all combines often like this for a disaster. Pedram, thank you.
JAVAHERI: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: There are new developments in the investigation into the nerve agent poisoning of four people in Salisbury, England. One is dead, three including a former Russian spy became so ill they nearly died. Investigators are looking into whether a drop team left vials of the poison identified as the Soviet era nerve agent Novichok in several places in Salisbury. Then a second hit team carried out the attack on the ex-spy and his daughter. A number of months after that attack a woman died from exposure to another job. Authorities are worried that more vials of the nerve agent may have been left in public places. There's been a rare military competition between Israel and Syria adding fuel to weeks of tensions near the Golan Heights. For the first time since 2014 Israel has shot down a Syrian fighter jet which it says entered Israeli airspace. We have details now from Ian Lee reporting in from Jerusalem.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet that it says entered Israeli airspace on Tuesday afternoon. Israeli military said the jet entered about two kilometers or one mile into the airspace when Israel launched two patriot missiles to intercept the fighter jet. The jet was shot down over Syrian territory in the southern part of the country. Israel says there's been increased activity on the part of the Syrian forces all day in southern Syria and in recent days including the Syrian Air Force. The Syrian regime has been trying to take back one of the last areas of southern Syria outside of its control, an area held by an ISIS affiliate. Syria says its jet had been conducting operations against terrorist groups when it was shot down. Israel says the fighter jet was either a Sukhoi 22 or Sukhoi 24. Both are Russian made Jets developed in 60s and 70s.
Before firing at the jet, Israeli military made sure it was in fact operated by the Syrian Air Force and not the Russians who have been working with the Syrians in that region. Israel insists it's sticking to his policy of not getting involved in the Syrian civil war but it will not tolerate violations of its sovereignty or of its airspace. Now, to give you an idea of how rare this is, the last time Israel downed a Syrian fighter jet was back in September 2014 under very similar circumstances. Syrian jet had entered one mile into Israeli airspace when it was shot down by single patriot missile. In February the reverse happened. Syria shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet which was conducting airstrikes in Syria after the Israeli military says an Iranian drone had crossed into Israel. Oren Liebermann, CNN Jerusalem.
VAUSE: Dalia Dassa Kaye is the Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy and a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation and we're lucky that you have come in today. OK, this was the second incident this week. On Monday missiles were fired from Syria towards Israel, now the IDF downing the Syrian fighter jet. What appears to be is that Israel is turning the clock back for years resetting the security arrangement which was sort of in place before a serious civil war as opposed to Syria and Israel sort of slipping closer to some all-out confrontation. Is that how you see it?
[01:10:26] DALIA DASSA KAYE, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST PUBLIC POLICY: Yes, I don't think we can expect an escalation to a full conflict between Israel and Syria from this. We've seen repeated Israeli interventions in Syria throughout the course of the Civil War --
VAUSE: More than 100 right?
KAYE: More than 100. In May we had an extensive campaign by the Israelis following some rocket attacks from the accused -- the Israelis accuse the Iranians of that attack that was following the U.S.'s role from the nuclear deal. So this is following a pattern. I wouldn't exactly say a reset but it is true that we're reaching the endgame in Syria. And so everybody is trying to kind of secure their positions and Israel's trying to make it clear that it wants to keep that buffer zone that was established in 1974, most importantly does not want Israeli forces -- Iranian forces on its border.
VAUSE: Yes, because with that in mind, you will -- the regime -- the Syrian regime may be a headache for Israel it's not their biggest concern. We've heard from Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. actually talking about you know, their main worry when it comes to how serious things end up. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY DANON, ISRAEL'S AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATION (through translator): We will not allow anyone to breach our sovereignty. We will not allow the Iranians to build their bases next to our borders in the Golan Heights. This is our policy and Prime Minister Netanyahu is very clear about this when he meets Mr. Putin, when he meets Mr. Trump. Whoever he will he will tell them the same. We will not allow the Iranians to build their bases next to Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That's the thing. It's Iran and Iran's proxies Hezbollah that the Israelis just don't want anywhere near that border.
KAYE: Yes, exactly. Well, now the question is what will the Israelis be willing to tolerate. And so there are reports of disagreement between the Israelis and the Russians and the Russian Foreign Minister was just in Israel. Reports are suggesting that the Russians are agreeing to keep the Iranians a significant distance up to 100 miles from the Israeli border in the -- in the Israeli part of the Golan. There are reports that the Israelis are not accepting this. That they want Iranian's completely out of Syria. Whether Russia has the will or capability to keep the Iranians out of Syria I think is an open question.
VAUSE: That is a good point because not only was Sergey Lavrov in Israel but also the head of the Armed Forces. I think for the first time ever the head of the Russian armed forces actually traveled to Israel for this meeting. So you know, it was a very high-powered meeting and I guess Russia is there because it's calling the shots to a point in Russia -- in Syria rather. And according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper, the meeting went ok, it went well. And they report this, Israel as demanding the removal of long-range Iranian missiles from all of Syria, a halt to the manufacturer of precision missiles within Syria that are meant for Hezbollah. The closure of the border crossings that are used for arms smuggling and in the future Israel will assist upon its original demand that all Iranian fighters to your point be removed from all of Syria.
I mean, given how strong Iran is right now regionally and you know, the control that Russia has over Iran which seems to be kind of limited, what are the chances the Israelis are going to come close to any of this? KAYE: I think it will be difficult but I think the Israelis will
continue to rely on their deterrence strategy which is the repeated strikes to send a message keeping this as controlled as possible so it doesn't escalate further and it's very clear what their ambition is but mistakes can happen. And if civilians -- some of these missiles are launched in civilian areas on either side, we could see an unintended escalation and this is why the situation is dangerous.
VAUSE: Israel usually relies on the U.S. in situation like this as the Israeli's one of the strongest allies. The U.S. policy towards Iran right now it's a mystery to be polite. You know, we had that late night tweet on Sunday from the President threatening war. And then on Tuesday and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran is not the same country anymore that I can say and we'll see what happens but we're ready to make a real deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Where is he going with this statement? Could it really sort of work out --
KAYE: You know, I think many of us are confused. I think there's a lot of confusion of where the policy is going. But I would look to what the actual policies have been and so far it has been this maximum pressure campaign --
VAUSE: Sort of (INAUDIBLE) North Korea kind of style.
KAYE: North Korea kind of style. Although I think the situation is very different than North Korea. The U.S. left the nuclear deal. There already was a deal in North Korea. You weren't leaving a deal. The neighbors in this region do not want the U.S. to be engaging Iran. In North Korea the neighbors did.
[01:15:01] So, I -- you know, there's -- I think, we should be a little wary of drawing too many comparisons to that. But I think, you know, regardless of what these recent statements by the president are. In practice, the message has been Iran is the root problem of the region, and I think we can expect continued pressure, especially, trying to prevent the export of their oil which is really going to choke them off. If that's successful, I think that's still to be determined.
KAYE: But I think that's where the policies is going. And so, I don't think we're looking at -- in overt interest in the U.S. intervening in Iran. I don't think we're looking at something like that. But I'm certainly don't think that folks in the White House would be upset if there was destabilization in the country.
And I can imagine this president being very happy to be the president under whose watch, the Islamic Republic fell. So I don't know if that's the goal, but I can imagine that would be the desired outcome.
VAUSE: It was the goal that doesn't seem to be a way of getting there, or strategy, or policy.
KAYE: That's right. Yes.
VAUSE: And it just you feel like John Bolton and Lindsey Graham are the ones who are sort of making the most of this moment.
KAYE: I think -- I think that's right. There is very -- no one's clear on the tactics of how we would get to that even if that is the goal. And I think a lot of our allies in the region are concerned about what is the message. I don't think that the all-caps tweet the president sent was considered it terribly credible by the Israelis.
The Israelis seem to be going to Moscow a lot more than they're coming to D.C.
VAUSE: That is vulnerable point, yes.
KAYE: So, I think, you know, it's a lot of question marks about where this policy is headed.
VAUSE: If there is one at all.
VAUSE: Oh, yes. Thank you.
KAYE: Right, very true. Thank you.
VAUSE: Appreciate it. We'll take a short break. When we come back, next on NEWSROOM L.A. A cricket legend is hoping a populist wave could help him become Pakistan's next prime minister. But did he get a little help from the military?
Also, CNN has obtained a secret audio recording of Donald Trump and his former fixer. What it could all mean, just ahead.
VAUSE: Well, Pakistanis are voting as fears grow. The powerful military may have been meddling in the country's second-ever civilian transfer of power. Military denies it has tried to tilt the election in favor of cricket legend Imran Khan.
Khan has also denied having any support from the Armed Forces. Sophia Saifi, following this election from Islamabad. So, you know, in the past, Sophia, these elections they've had kind of like a carnival-like atmosphere, there's been a lot of excitement.
What is the atmosphere like across Pakistan on this Election Day? And what have been the arrangements and the concerns when it comes to security? [01:20:11] SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, John, you're right. It's always been of a very carnivalesque of environment in the lead-up to elections.
But in this specific election cycle, parties only had about two months to campaign in the lead-up to today's stage. Campaigning itself ended on Monday midnight. So there hasn't been much noise or music on madness in the past 24 hours.
And, of course, you know, there's no campaigning now because polls just open about an hour and a half ago. So, we're not already seeing much activity, but we are getting reports, and I seeing them myself here in Islamabad.
People are queuing up, there is enthusiasm to come out and vote. Over 105 million people have vote -- have registered to vote for the election today. And there is a very strong security presence across the country because as -- you know, just about 10 days ago, there was a massive suicide attack in the south of the country which left about 160 people dead.
So, there is some fear, but, you know, there had been some -- you know, feeling of joy, and song, and euphoria until Monday. But that's kind of cut quiet and down, and -- you know when poll is open this morning.
VAUSE: Sophia, we appreciate the update. Thank you. Well, the U.S. president now says he's actually concerned that Russia might just interfere in the U.S. midterm elections in November. But he says it's likely, though, the Russians will do it to help the Democrats.
Just part of Mr. Trump's latest head-spinning reversals on Russia's election attack, he also delivered a surreal warning during a speech to veterans on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Just remember, what you're seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening. Just stick with us. Don't believe that crap you see from these people to fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Michael Genovese is president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola, Marymount University. And I promise I will not cough on you this hour,
MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: This hour. OK.
VAUSE: You have my word. OK, this is a reminder and maybe an interesting point. Here's a quote from George Orwell's 1984, "The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."
This U.S. president now seems to be doing with some degree of success, just that with his supporters that seems to be exactly what he's asking them to do.
GENOVESE: Well, you know, he treats his base like they're stupid. And it's amazing that they don't revolt because he talks to them like their children and he expect them -- expects them to just follow without thinking, or reading, or watching the news.
And what you need to know is that he has to undermine the news because the news is going to report things that he knows are going to be damaging. What if Mueller goes into the finances in Russia? What if Mueller under -- uncovers something really juicy?
He, like Nixon before him is trying to undermine the voice that's going to be criticizing him and say, "Just look at my face, listen to my words, read what I say." Not what that voice over there is say.
VAUSE: You know, I was talking to some Trump supporters last night. And then, I say always tuned out from the news. It's too much and it's all -- it's just not right, and there, it's all wrong, and it's all fake, so we don't even listen to news now.
So, and that's why I say, to some degree anecdotally, it's working. And I guess he'll be asking his supporters that -- you know, not to believe what we're about to hear which is a recording between Donald Trump and his former fixer, Michael Cohen.
This is about arranging a payment to Karen McDougal as she claims she had an affair with Donald Trump about a decade ago. The Trump team has always denied it. Listen to what he said to Michael Cohen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know. So that I'm going to do that right away. I've actually come up and spoken --
TRUMP: Give it to me, and --
COHEN: And I've spoken Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with funding.
TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this? 150?
COHEN: Yes. And it's all the stuff.
TRUMP: Yes, I was thinking about that.
COHEN: All the stuff. Because you know, you never know where that company, you never know where he's going to be.
TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.
COHEN: Correct. So, I'm all over that. And I spoke to Allen about it when it comes time for the financing, which will be --
TRUMP: Wait a second, what financing? COHEN: Will I have to pay him something?
TRUMP: Pay with cash? Pay with check?
COHEN: No, no, no, no, no. I got it, no, no, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So, when you listen to that, what do you hear?
GENOVESE: I hear a juicy, tempting, interesting snippet.
[01:24:44] GENOVESE: And it's only a snippet, and it was released because Cohen's attorney believes that he can get use it for some leverage. What it says in that, and it's again, a partial excerpt of a conversation.
Is the president is lying but he's not a criminal. He is denying the things that he has agreed to before. He is saying the things I said before aren't real, this is real. And so, the president is unethical but he's not a criminal. And I think that's all that, that tape shows.
And so, there's going to be so much more that's going to be revealed. So that's just the amuse-bouche, the big meal comes later.
VAUSE: Yes, I always believe politicians when they believe no one is around, I guess is to say. Let's just get forward very quickly to element number four here, guys. Because this is Lanny Davis who is on CNN if you ask explain to Chris Cuomo, why he actually did release the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANNY DAVIS, ATTORNEY TO MICHAEL COHEN: There's been a campaign out of the White House to disparage Mr. Cohen. And why is that, Chris? Because he's got truth on his side now, and he intends to tell the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So, what's the real reason?
GENOVESE: That Lanny is a terrific attorney.
VAUSE: Yes, yes.
GENOVESE: And he is playing us as you would expect. The real deal, I think, is that he is trying to maneuver himself and his client into a position where they can either strike hard or make a good deal.
You know, he's got other tapes. We don't know what Mueller has. We don't know what is lurking in the background. Lanny Davis knows a lot more than we do. So, I think, what he's trying to do is frame it so that when the time comes, he can go to Mueller, for example.
Remember, Cohen has not been charged with anything yet. And say, "OK, you know what we've got. We've got this, we've got that. Let's make a good deal here.
VAUSE: Yes. We should note that so Rudy Giuliani says, the president was saying, "Don't pay with cash. Check." And that would makes a little sort of differences when it comes to campaign finance, I guess.
GENOVESE: It's a -- it's a difference without a lot of distinction in some ways because what you're talking about is the president talking about paying hush money to someone he denies having ever met.
GENOVESE: And so, it puts the lie to what he said. But is it criminal? I don't know, that it rises to that level.
VAUSE: OK. Another example of the presence of twisting reality was a tweet which he put out a few hours ago, "I'm very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming election. Based on the fact that no president has been tougher on Russia than me, they'll be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely work don't want Trump."
OK, there are 40 words which I think are accurate. Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming election, the rest is seems to be fiction.
GENOVESE: Well, the president missed a great job of making things up that suit his interest and his need.
VAUSE: And seem almost real that based in fact, truth. In an element of truth.
GENOVESE: Well, it is -- again, the lie can't be too far from the truth because then it's not believable. But you know, the president has twisted it around having denied that the Russians are involved. Now, he says, "Oh they are involved, but it's for the Democrats."
Well, again, unless you follow the Pied Piper blindly down the past.
VAUSE: Which may do it see.
GENOVESE: With a lot of -- a lot of his base does. But most people who can read, and who've heard the tapes and who can make their own judgments, they know that what the president saying is just not at all true.
VAUSE: OK. I guess the concern is those who know that it's not true but still support the president anyway because of what he's doing.
GENOVESE: Well, that's out of self-interest. And the interest is he's given us, one, now two Supreme Court justices, he's given us tax cuts. You know, he's really sort of throwing gifts at us like Santa Claus, and who am I to say that I'm ungrateful?
VAUSE: OK. Michael as always, thank you so much.
GENOVESE: Thank you.
VAUSE: Appreciate it. Well, Donald Trump has a deal for Europe on trade, but even he believes that it's probably unlikely they'll take him up on it. For more details on that when we come back.
 VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
Welcome back, everybody. I'm John Vause.
We'll check the headlines this hour.
In Laos hundreds of people are missing, thousands have been displaced after a dam under construction collapsed causing a flash flood in six villages. The electricity company says a smaller damage intended to hold excess water fractured when it was hit by a heavy rainstorm.
The prime minister of Greece has declared three days of mourning after at least 74 people, rather were killed in the country's worst wildfires in years. Dozens of rescuers are searching for those who are still missing.
And British officials investigating the poisoning of a former Russian spy are looking at whether a drop squad planted the nerve agent and a second hit team carried out the attack. Authorities warn more vials of Novichok may be hidden in the Salisbury area. Months after the former ex-soviet spy and his daughter became ill two others were exposed when they found a container of Novichok, one died.
The Trump administration's trade war takes center stage at the White House in the coming hours. The U.S. president will meet the president of the European Commission.
And Donald Trump is ready to make a deal -- kind of. In a tweet just a few hours ago he suggested that both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all tariffs, barriers and subsidies. He says "That would finally be called a free market and fair trade. Hope they do it. We are ready, but they won't," -- exclamation point. No caps though.
Global business executive Ryan Patel is with me for more on all of that. Ok. Trump has floated this idea before, right. No tariffs all around, no barriers. Even he thinks it's a nonstarter.
So assuming it's a negotiating tactic, which it is (AUDIO GAP), negotiating tactic -- is there anything the Europeans can actually offer Trump which would satisfy him?
RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Well, it's going to be an interesting meeting tomorrow because at the end of the day it's about the cars -- the auto tariffs. And you know, when the tariffs hit, when you hit a finished product it hits the hardest and if it's single products not as much.
So when the Europeans are coming in tomorrow they really, really are going to have to have a plan because I believe and I think there's rumors they already have Plan B set --
VAUSE: And that is?
PATEL: -- which is they're going to tax in kind right back. And that will be I think the main focus of this meeting is to try to get a deal on the auto side and be very -- you know, if I'm them -- be very clear in this meeting, this is what's going to happen.
PATEL: Right. And it's not about -- you know, the E.U. is going to retaliate, just to be very firm. And you know, they're -- this is --
VAUSE: Cards on the table -- this is what's going to happen.
PATEL: Yes, because again this auto thing is really a huge thing.
VAUSE: Exactly. When you look at the size of the auto industry in both the economies and as you say when tariffs hit a finished product it's maximum bang for your buck, if you like.
On Tuesday, the President tweeted, you know, that tariffs are the greatest. And then he was at a gathering of veterans of foreign wars on Tuesday and he added this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have so many people that are so (INAUDIBLE) because we have to make our country truly great again. Remember make America great again and then in two and a half years it's called keep America great. So the way we keep America great is to make at least reasonable -- I'm not saying at least reasonable, at least fair trade deals. Not stupid trade deals like we've put up with for 25 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: At the beginning you may not have heard it -- got so many people who just basically support what I'm doing. One company which may no longer be in favor of all of this is Whirlpool. Here's some reporting from Reuters.
"Home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool, an early supporter of tariffs to protect U.S. washing machines, said on Tuesday that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum were raising sharply the cost of raw materials contributing to a slump in second quarter earnings, and shares fell 15 percent to a two-year low."
That's just one company which is now feeling the real world impact of this great plan of imposing tariffs.
[01:35:023] PATEL: And that was the company a year ago who's supporting this and, you know, the biggest jump almost in the 80s since they've had this.
And I think just to be clear, you know, when President Trump says, you know, trade wars are good, no it's not. And it doesn't matter what party you're on, left or right, they've all said this. It is not.
And I think everyone agrees -- I think if there is one thing -- two things that both parties agree. A trade war is not good, and yes, you want to have a better deal.
I don't think anyone has decided not to. And I think the rhetoric here to me, the timing of this is not great to start tooting your own horn about we are, you know, that the U.S. is moving towards a positive direction, which I don't know yet what that looks like.
VAUSE: Ok. Ok, so, you know, we heard from both sides of politics saying this is a bad thing but the administration is pushing on, announcing that it's willing to spend $12 billion to subsidize farmers hurt by tariffs.
Here's part of the "New York Times" reporting, "This financial move is an indication that Mr. Trump, ignoring he concerns of farmers and representatives in Congress and even some of his own aides about the adverse consequences of a trade war he says he relishes plans to plow forward in escalating his tariff tit-for-tat around the world."
Why is this President so determined and why at this point can't Congress stop him because essentially Congress is responsible for tariffs, not the President?
PATEL: You know, again the timing of this today came out is interesting, right -- right around election time, you know. When you look at this headline from a macro perspective you're like oh, wow, trying to buy some time, really digging in the heels on this trade piece.
PATEL: But if you go deeper and you reed on some of the associations of the farmers, a few of them quite often have said this is actually great for the shot-term, but long-term what do you do with the surplus?
PATEL: Right. It doesn't address the long-term piece of it. And I think -- again I think this buys a little time but doesn't really solve the problem of what's going to go in the future. Because yes, you can give them some aid, but that doesn't really fix the problem.
VAUSE: Where does the administration find $12 billion for this?
PATEL: I didn't read anywhere -- they didn't mention.
PATEL: I looked really hard to find it. I think just to kind of piggyback on that, what they did on the tax reliefs that's going to get washed off, if not --
PATEL: -- you're going to get a negative piece.
VAUSE: Yes. All the benefits, if there was any for, you know, the economy which was minimal, it will be destroyed by the tariffs.
PATEL: And there is this notion -- tariff isn't a fixed income. So I want people to know at home like this is not an income that you can bank on for the next year or two years. This is not something like federal income tax, specifically.
Uncertain times, Ryan -- thank you.
Ok. Well, her father's election as president certainly brought attention to Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessory company. Now the first daughter has decided to shut down her own brand.
Christina Alessi has more.
IVANKA TRUMP, FIRST DAUGHTER: Hi, everyone. I'm Ivanka Trump.
CHRISTINA ALESSI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight Ivanka Trump's clothing line is out of fashion. In an announcement today the President's daughter said her company which is named after her and featured her initials in its logo is shutting down.
The apparel line which Trump launched in 2014 before her father's run for president sold women's wear online and in department stores.
In a statement the President's daughter said she didn't know, quote, "if I will return to the business. But I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I'm doing here in Washington".
But Trump's brand has bee embroiled in controversy since the presidential election. In part because all of the products were made overseas, even though her father has touted his desire to bring jobs back to the U.S.
I. TRUMP: One year ago, I introduced my father when he declared his candidacy.
ALESSI: During her 2016 speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump wore a dress from her line which she later highlighted on Twitter. And last February counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway hawked Ivanka products during a live TV interview.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Go buy Ivanka's stuff. This is just -- it's wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully -- I'm going to just give -- I'm going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today everybody. Go find it online. ALESSI: Conway was later rebuked by the Office of Government Ethics which called her endorsement a quote, "clear violation of her position".
Profits of the brand initially rose in the months immediately following the election but have since declined according to a person with director knowledge.
Several retailers including Nordstrom have stopped carrying the clothing line. Nordstrom saying in February 2017, its decision was due to slowing sales.
Just days after that decision President Trump attack Nordstrom on Twitter tweeting, "My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom. She's a great person, always pushing me to do the right thing. Terrible."
[01:39:55] And two months ago Ivanka Trump faced renewed criticism after the fashion brand scored seven new trademarks in China while the President was engaged in trade talks with the country.
Christina Alessi, CNN -- New York.
VAUSE: Well, a slim majority of Americans, according to a new poll, believe the Kremlin has something on the U.S. president. So when we come back -- what is kompromat and how is it used throughout the former Soviet Union?
VAUSE: American voters are not giving good reviews to Donald Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin -- 54 percent say they believe Mr. Trump was not acting in the best interest of the U.S. The Quinnipiac University poll shows 52 percent described the meeting as a failure for the United States; 73 percent say a win for Russia.
The poll also shows 51 percent believe Russia has compromising information on Donald Trump; 35 percent disagree. Compromising information would be kompromat.
Joining me now CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer. Ok. Bob -- good to have you with you.
Let's not focus on Donald Trump for a moment. Let's just talk about how business is done and how governments are run in the former Soviet Union, and how kompromat is routinely gathered as a way of getting up ahead in negotiations or try to influence someone and how they make their decision. It's kind of just business as usual.
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely -- John.
Most of the hotels in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and now Russia have cameras in them. You can just count on it. All the major Moscow hotels do.
And what the KGB wants to do is get somebody in a compromising situation. It could be contraband, for instance -- drugs, buying, selling drugs. But it's mostly about girls and men. And they want to make it so transgressive that whatever they ask you to do, the KGB, you'll do it.
So in Moscow, that would be for instance, you know, they run underage girls into you. Take them to your hotel -- one, two it doesn't really matter. The door gets knocked down, the police are there, you're arrested.
You know they have the tape, they show you the tape right away. And then the intelligence officer comes. In this case it would be the FSB, the new KGB, and says I can get you out of this but we need to make a deal.
BAER: It's very common. I've worked with intelligence services in the Eastern Bloc in Russia and have watched them do it. It's very effective and very pervasive.
VAUSE: So, you know, one of the ways that kompromat is actually effective it needs a weak legal system, weak institutions, or maybe in the case of an American businessman doing deals in the former Soviet Union, the fact that the FBI has no subpoena power there in other countries and U.S. law enforcers, you know, rarely investigate financial crimes carried out in other countries.
[01:44:58] BAER: Oh, absolutely. I mean they do American businessmen, politicians, diplomats. If you're assigned to Moscow for instance, they warn you right away do not pick up Russian girls. Don't meet people in bars.
One case I know was a senior attorney at the Department of Justice was compromised; was drugged at a bar. This wasn't that long ago. Ends up in a hotel room, he'd been filmed. Everything he had was stolen.
The two FBI agents with him said don't go, don't go. He'd been drinking too much. so everybody is vulnerable.
VAUSE: So how has Putin crafted his own version of what's, you know, known the systema -- the rules and the hierarchy of how kompromat works?
BAER: Well, it's all -- I mean it's all contained -- it's a way of life there. They've compromised prosecutors. So if you're in Russia you've done anything slightly illegal and you're an official you know that Putin has a tape, has some evidence against you. Maybe for corruption and you're afraid to do anything. You can quit your job I suppose but you can't carry on your duties and oppose the Kremlin. It's a way of life.
VAUSE: Yes. So to jump in, the "New Yorker Magazine" quotes one expert who is skeptical that Putin would have ordered any operation specifically to collect kompromat on Trump, you know, all those years ago when he was just a businessman but adds this. "Instead it's possible that there's kompromat in the hands of several different business groups in the former Soviet Union. Each would have bits and pieces of damaging information and might have had subtle or not so subtle ways to communicate that fact to both Trump and Putin. Putin would have liked to have gathered some of that material but he would have known that he couldn't get everything."
So in other words, a high profile business person like Donald Trump may not know specifically all that the Russians have but just the fact that there's dirt out there and that's what sort of keeps everyone in line.
BAER: It does, and it's a business context as well. I mean a lot of them are Russian monsters he went into business with. We know the names -- this is established record. If there was any sort of side deals that involved violating IRS, you know, tax return laws, they would know that.
If there were any sort of kick backs, they would have a lot of -- a lot of places whether it's Panama, Toronto or in SoHo -- one of his hotels -- Russian partners. He had gambling, organized crime gambling groups working out of Trump Tower and on and on and on. There's hundreds of points of possible kompromat.
VAUSE: Yes. Pulitzer-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, he told CNN a little earlier that Russia could have 30 years of kompromat on Donald Trump. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, JOURNALIST: On a financial level, a thorough audit and examination of the books and records is going to show deep ties between Donald Trump, Russian oligarchs, Russian gangsters. And when I say Russian, I mean Russian-speaking peoples.
And it explains why Donald would attack the Pope but will not say a critical word about Vladimir Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So if the President has been compromised, is this the most likely scenario with all of his business dealings. And it's also embarrassing sexual encounter, you know, as outlined in the now infamous Russia dossier?
BAER: Well, you know look, let's face it -- John. In 1987 in July he goes to Moscow. That was a trip sponsored by the KGB. All right. Fine, it was the ambassador in Washington who officially invited him. But KGB agents that were in the embassy at the time will tell you that was KGB.
So they put him in a hotel. Is there kompromat from that visit? I don't know. But he was an official visitor to the Soviet Union, and they get blackmail like that whether businessmen or not. And along -- we don't know where it is. The KGB holds this stuff very tightly. But Donald Trump, if there is any kompromat, I haven't seen any, you know, but he would know about it. And you could definitely bring it up to him and say you remember your visit to Moscow in '87 when you had that little problem. Isn't that great that went away?
All sorts of possibilities -- I'm still looking for an explanation why he refuses to attack this former KGB agent, in any way criticize him. It's bizarre. The whole idea --
VAUSE: Because if he was --
BAER: Yes, go ahead.
VAUSE: If he was really a Russian agent -- sorry -- I just want to finish up very quickly -- if he was, you know, this double Russian agent, this Manchurian candidate -- if he was staying next to Putin that was the ideal chance to say we're going to be tough on the Russian president. I'm not Barack Obama, the days of meddling in American elections are over.
I mean that would have been the obvious thing, right?
BAER: Oh, absolutely. I mean he had his opportunity in Helsinki to be really tough and say, look, we have huge differences. We're going to get through them but right now we haven't.
I mean politically it was disastrous for him, and there's no explanation of why he kowtowed to Putin. I just -- I can't understand another one unless there's business kompromat or sexual.
[01:50:06] VAUSE: Right. Ok, Bob -- as always, thanks for being with us. Appreciate your insight.
Well, drilling for oil in Alaska -- when we come back the emotional issue pitting neighbor against neighbor in places where wildlife has been protected for decades.
VAUSE: Well, President Trump's plan to open up America's last big wilderness to big oil is raising this question -- can you fight climate change and support more drilling? That question many are asking about the millions of pristine acres which make up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Here Bill Weir.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the little hamlet of Kaktovik, Alaska the only villa inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, there are three topics of conversation most days -- polar bears, the weather and Donald Trump.
(on camera): Are you a fan of President Trump? CHARLES LAMPE, KAKTOVIK Alaska: Yes, he does good things, you know,
and he does bad things. I'm grateful that he got the bill passed.
WEIR (voice over): December's tax cut bill also opened the arctic refuge to drilling. And the government is now moving fast to lease 800,000 acres on this pristine coastal plain.
This is where the last great caribou herds give birth -- a place brimming with life and beauty made all the more fragile by a staggering rise in arctic temperature.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe in climate change? Do you think it exists?
TRUMP: There is a cooling and there's a heating. If the ice caps were going to melt they were going to be gone by now. But now they're setting records.
WEIR (on camera): That is the exact opposite of the truth. And this time lapse of NASA satellite data clearly shows how the relentless burning of fossil fuels is melting that arctic at a rapid place, including the oldest, thickest ice seen here in white.
Which is why more and more emaciated Nanook are wandering into town. They need sea ice to make dens and hunt seals. And without it whale scraps are the next best thing.
But skinny, hungry polar bears aren't the only warning signs up here. That is the Kaktovik Airport and they're moving it away from the coast due in part to sea level rise. They're seeing more and more freakish rainstorms in the winter and blizzards in the summer but at the same time all the modern creature comforts in this town from the clinic to the school were paid for with oil money.
And with the promise of fresh millions for their native corporations, most of the folks here are eager to tap into the one product that is changing their land forever.
GINO SOLOMON, KAKTOVIK ALASKA: What do we use for whaling? We use gas and oil. What do we use to go hunt caribou? We use gas and oil. We have this right to build upon our own land.
WEIR (voice over): A so-called scoping meeting -- the federal official lays bare just how emotionally divisive the issue has become.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Think about what's going to happen to this land if there's an oil spill and the response that's going to come along with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for that message. Can we ask where you're from?
WEIR: That loaded question and the tension in the room shows how much resentment there is for outsiders who want to protect the refuge. And to the Inupiaq here on the coast, those environmental rivals include the Gwich'in tribe up in the mountains -- folks fiercely opposed to drilling.
[01:55:03] FAITH GEMMILL, GWICH'IN TRIBAL MEMBER: So they partner with the oil companies. We've told them our position. Our culture, our spirituality, our traditional way of life is based on the caribou, and we're not willing to give it up.
ROBERT THOMPSON, POLAR BEAR GUIDE: I'm sure that they have the moral high ground. They're trying to preserve their culture and the people that are pro-oil are doing it for money.
WEIR: Back in Kaktovik, Robert Thompson is known as the local anti- drilling gadfly -- a wildlife guide who carries a revolver just in case that skinny polar bear gets grouchy.
THOMPSON: This gun is more powerful than Dirty Harry's gun.
WEIR: That's right.
He points out that the native-owned Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is worth billions thanks to royalties from other drilling sites. But that wealth does not trickle down. And his neighbors here believe that tapping the refuge will finally bring the wealth and respect they deserve.
(on camera): There are a lot of people in Chicago or Dallas or Iowa who believe this is their land, too. It is a national wildlife refuge, like a national park.
THOMPSON: Yes. But --
WEIR: And they want to keep it pure.
THOMPSON: But they will never set foot here.
I don't think it's right for them to be able to tell us what we can and cannot do with our own land. You know, we're the best stewards of our land.
WEIR: That is the kind of local support pro-drilling lawmakers Lisa Murkowski loved to highlight. The Senator is the driving force behind opening ANWR. And she insists that wildlife won't be harmed.
Despite our numerous requests, she refused to be interviewed. One reason may be that unlike the President she is one Republican who believes in manmade climate change but wants her state to keep drilling regardless.
FLORIAN SCHULZ, PHOTOGRAPHER: If this will happen here, it would just destroy the entire place.
WEIR: Up at the refuge, photographer Florian Schulz is one outsider who has spent years here, capturing the magic of this place. And he hopes everyone, including the good folks of Kaktovik, will take the long view.
SCHULZ: I'm using resources. I'm driving a car, but I feel we need to think in new ways. We need to think in new technologies and stay with the value of keeping wild landscapes. Because once they're gone, they're gone.
VAUSE: Thanks to Bill Weir for that report.
And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
The news continues here on CNN right after a short break.
[02:00:11] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: The poison was in a perfume bottle.