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Former Trump Campaign Chari Accused of Financial Crimes; Hopes for Economic Revival in Zimbabwe; Fallout Flying High; Trump Takes Aim At Special Counsel Robert Mueller; Washington Post: N. Korea May Be Building New Missiles; Palestinian Teen Out Of Prison After Slapping Soldier. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 31, 2018 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, from an iron fist to an outstretched hand.

Just days after trading insults and threatening Iran's leaders, the U.S. president now says, he's willing to talk with no preconditions.

Plus, the slapped that became the symbol of defiance. A Palestinian teenager has spent eight months in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier is now free, speaking out for Palestinians. She's a hero to many Israelis, nothing more for the troublemaker.

And later, not closer to impossible. But 56-year-old, Tom Cruise, the action star is back. And somehow, Ethan Hunt being younger than ever.

Hello everybody, thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause, and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

Donald Trump has shown a glimpse of his rage at the Russia investigation with his most personal attack, yet, on special counsel Robert Mueller. Calling him out by name and trying to discredit his investigation.

Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has also gone after Mueller, but Giuliani seems to only muddied the waters, sparking confusion and doubt, and possibly doing more harm than good. CNN's Jim Acosta begins our coverage.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President -- Mr. President, do you think other countries --

As his aides were nearly screaming into the ears of reporters asking questions in the Oval Office, President Trump declined to weigh in on the Russia investigation. On a later news conference with the Italian Prime Minister --

Do you feel betrayed by Michael Cohen, sir?

ACOSTA: A question from CNN about his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, and no response. Instead, the president unloaded in his usual safe space where there are no questions, on Twitter. Tweeting, there is no collusion and slamming the Russia investigation with a personal attack as a Robert Mueller rigged witch-hunt.

And just after the president was tweeting, there was no collusion, his outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani was claiming on CNN that collusion isn't a crime.

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Which I do not even know if that's a crime colluding about Russians.


GIULIANI: You start -- you start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime.

ACOSTA: Asked about that, the president relied on his aides to drown out the question.

Mr. President, if there is no collusion, why does Rudy Giuliani, keeps saying that there's no crime in collusion.

Giuliani also suggested the special counsel may have a conflict in the investigation that incredibly couldn't say what it is.

GIULIANI: Because he has to hear the conflict, not the president. And I can't tell you, I'm not sure I know exactly what the conflict. And I found a good idea what it is. It's one that would have kept me out of the investigation.

ACOSTA: The former New York City Mayor also railed against Cohen for secretly recording the president.

GIULIANI: He's a scumbag, he's a horrible person. I've never heard of a lawyer taping his client without the clients' consent.

ACOSTA: Giuliani is also blasting the trial that's about to begin for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Arguing the case is simply being used as leverage to take down the president.

GIULIANI: And he's just a big fish, the reason it -- reason I got Manafort in solitary confinement. And so, they will give up Donald Trump not because it'll give up some Russian or Ukrainian he did business with.

ACOSTA: Instead of answering questions on Russia, Mr. Trump returned to a pet issue for his base. Immigration, again, threatening a government shutdown if he doesn't get what he wants.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would have no problem doing a shutdown. It's time we had proper border security. With a laughingstock of the world, we have the worst immigration laws anywhere in the world.

ACOSTA: Trump also made the stunning announcement that he would be willing to meet with Iran's leadership without preconditions. TRUMP: They want to meet on me anytime they want, anytime they want. Good for the country, good for them, good for us, and good for the world. No preconditions.

ACOSTA: The president did try to sound tough on Russia, insisting his summit with Vladimir Putin was great. And standing firm on sanctions against Moscow, saying they will remain in place for the time being. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: Joining me here in Los Angeles, political analyst Bill Schneider. And from Berlin, CNN's European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas. OK, here is the U.S. president on Monday with what seemed an always casual response when it came to a possible meeting with leaders from Iran.


TRUMP: I'll meet with anybody, I believe in meeting. You meet. There's nothing wrong with meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have preconditions for that meeting?

TRUMP: No preconditions. No, they want to meet on me. Anytime they want. Any time they want.


VAUSE: You know, Bill, there was a time for Republicans when just a mere presidential candidate talking about a meeting with Iran would send them into apoplectic shock, though. Like their hair on fire and they would scream at the end of the world. But, what now, it's OK?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is OK because he is Donald Trump. And his claim is that he is the master deal maker, the negotiator. He rejects all deals that anyone else made even before his time. He's critical of NATO, he's critical of the United Nations. Those were all deals that were made, he had nothing to do with them.

His claim is that once he's in office now, any deal he makes will be a masterpiece. He could deal with North Korea, he can deal with Iran, he can deal with anybody, and there'll be great deals. That's his real claim to office.

[01:05:27] VAUSE: Yes, Dominic, the U.S. allies in Europe, especially, those countries which would part of the negotiations of the Iran nuclear deal. What -- what's the reaction there, is it like so from head-scratching to confusion, to outright frustration, and then, some?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR (via skype): All of the above, and mostly, and then, some. I mean, this is a sort of a continuation for what is now being a two-year and fairly consistent pattern of complete and irrational and inconsistent behavior. And not only -- and are they frustrated because of previous standing multilateral agreements and deals, whether it's Iran, the Paris appalled, NATO, and so on. They're all up in the air.

This creates tremendous uncertainty, and of course, at the same time as we see. For example, with the meeting of the Italian Prime Minister, Donald Trump is increasingly and vocally aligning himself with detractors of these institutions such as the European Union. And this is also very problematic.

VAUSE: Well, it hasn't even been two months since Donald Trump declared the nuclear threat from North Korea was over. And that happened after the summit in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. But it seems someone forgot to tell the North Koreans.

The Washington Post is reporting, "U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles and a factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence.

The new intelligence does not suggest an expansion of North Korea's capabilities but shows that work on advanced weapons is continuing weeks after President Trump declared in a Twitter posting that Pyongyang was no longer a nuclear threat." To Seoul, South Korea, CNN's Paula Hancock's live this hour.

You know, it may not break the deal which was made in Singapore. But is this the kind of behavior you would expect for the country committed to denuclearization?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is the sort of behavior that most North Korean observers were expecting. The Trump administration is coming up against exactly the same issues the previous U.S. administrations have come up against when they're trying to pin North Korea down to were to keep two pledges to denuclearize.

So, one U.S. official said that really this Washington Post story is consistent with what is publicly known, that the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong- un, gave Kim what he wanted, the nuclear recognition. But the negotiations for denuclearization are still ongoing.

It was vague wording, the fact that they would work towards denuclearization. And even the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a Senate hearing just last week admitted that this activity was continuing.


SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA), HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: North Korea continues to produce fissile material, nuclear bomb material, is that correct?

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Senator, I'm trying to make sure I stay on that correct. Yes, that's correct. Yes, just trying to make sure I don't cross into classified information I am not trying to hesitate. Yes, they continue to produce fissile material.


HANCOCKS: So, John, the key is from, from the U.S. point of view, according to a U.S. official is the big challenge is to find out exactly what North Korea has at this point before it does an inventory, and before it publicly acknowledges what it could give up to make sure that there's no disconnect between what they say they have and what they actually have. John.

VAUSE: Yes, if only they could have an agreement on that, I'm doing like a summit or something that would have been not a bad idea. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancock's there for us in Seoul.

Let's get back now to the Bill and Dominic. Here's a little more from the Washington Post reporter who broke the story about North Korea. Listen to this.


JOBY WARRICK, JOURNALIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: What we see is in real-time, evidence that North Korean officials don't really take this very seriously. They want to offer some token gestures to dismantling their nuclear arsenal, perhaps, giving up some weapons allowing inspectors to see some facilities. But they have no intentions of giving up everything.

And that comes as no surprise when you think of nuclear weapons as being essential, at least, in the eyes of the regime to the survival of Kim Jong-un and his family.


VAUSE: You know, Bill, given North Korea's past behavior, this is a surprise to pretty much no one it seems except the President of the United States, perhaps.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. We've seen this before where they've made gestures about denuclearization and then, they've done nothing. They keep making the promises, and then, they don't keep them. It's nothing new.

What appears to happen is that the Singapore summit is really a propaganda victory for Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. He saw an opportunity to make an appearance, to look legitimate, to be recognized as a nuclear power, which the United States has always been reluctant to do.

And he took advantage of it. It looks like a propaganda victory for Kim.

[01:10:14] VAUSE: And with that in mind, this is pretty much all we hear these days from the president when it comes to North Korea and Kim Jong-un. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TRUMP: He's got a great personality. He is very talented.

Great personality and very smart. Good combination.

He's -- you know, funny guy. (INAUDIBLE) a very talented man. And loves his people, he loves his country.

He was really very gracious. He's a very smart guy. We've had a really great term together, a great relationship. He's a great negotiator. I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korean.

And wants to do what's right. He trusts me, I believe, I really do. We got along right, from the beginning. I think he liked me, and I liked him.

He's negotiating on behalf of his people. A very worthy, a very smart negotiator. Absolutely. And we had a terrific day.


VAUSE: Dominic, given how the North Korean's pretty much got everything they wanted from Donald Trump, is it surprising the Iranian have already turned down this offer from the U.S. president? It would seem they would be packing their bags eager to make a deal from the self-described world's greatest deal maker?

THOMAS: Greatest deal maker also have some issues with how he goes about assessing, how he's engaging with people. And if the meeting in Singapore was a resounding success for the leader of North Korea, the meeting in Helsinki was a resounding success for the leader of Russia.

And this is the problem in these negotiations, Donald Trump walks away from every engagement whether it's with Angela Merkel, whether it's with Theresa May. Feeling like he's established a tremendous rapport that he has not. And there is a tremendous naivety and that we could see in these relations.

And certainly, when it comes to Iran, and the skepticism is well justified, and they are currently in -- you know, extensive process of ongoing talks with the European Union and with other partners in the original and Iran deal.

And it's very difficult to them because -- be their own people. And to imagine any kind of kind of rational engagement with this president, here on one day is attacking them and threatening, so at the end of that nation on Twitter, and the next day being very open to negotiations.

And this kind of inconsistency isn't going to work with every leader and every particular country that he decides to speak to in this particular way. The problem and risk, of course, if these negotiations or discussions do break down, at what point do we start seeing an administration being much more aggressive and potentially triggering conflict with these nations? VAUSE: Well, it seems that there is some kind of relationship therein the -- you know, in the early stages are between the U.S. president, and the new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is at the White House on Monday, they could be besties.


GIUSEPPE CONTE, PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY (through translator): Yes, open to dialogue with Russia. We do believe that Russia plays a fundamental role in all international geopolitical crises. So, thinking that Russia can be kept out of a dialogue, as President Trump said, if we want to solve problems, we cannot choose the counterparts to deal with. We must accept and sit at the table, and negotiate and have a dialogue with those who aren't.


VAUSE: You know, Bill. Conte and Trump, eye-to-eye on not just Russia but immigration, on NATO, a whole bunch of issues. Is it possible he could be -- you know, the Trump whisperer to Europe? The many thought that France's Emmanuel Macron may have been able to. A role he may be able to pull off.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. That's what Conte seems to be aspiring to. He wants to be the interlocutor between Trump and Europe. And the European Union which Trump declared recently was a foe of the United States.

Conte is part of a wave of politician selected all over the West, the United States, the Brexit vote in Britain, Hungary, Poland. These are politicians who were elected mostly in response to immigration, illegal immigration.

Italy, certainly, has a terrible illegal immigration problem. And that's one of the reasons why these unusual parties -- two of them won the election. This guy, Conte, he didn't run for reelection, he didn't campaign, he's not a politician, he was appointed in a deal between the two largest party -- parties in Italy after extended negotiation.

President Trump didn't appear to know that when he congratulated Conte on his astounding victory in the Italian election. He wasn't even a candidate.

VAUSE: Yes. Very quickly, Dominick, this Conte, run the risk that so many other European leaders have had run and been burned by getting too close to this U.S. president.

[01:14:58] THOMAS: Well, yes. And, of course, we have to sort of think very quickly about what it is that the Italian Prime Minister hopes to and to get out of this. And by speaking with Trump, he's also sending a message to European leaders that he has the the ear of the -- of the U.S. president.

And, of course, the bigger primary objective at Italy is to put pressure on the European Unions. The European Union finds itself that a tremendously complicated historical crossroads between those countries that are embracing more nativist sort of a liberal democratic kind of model, and those doesn't been want to hold on to the liberal democratic values of these institutions.

And by speaking with Trump, he's signaling to Europe that he has his attention and is trying to pressure them to provide Italy with a better deal and support on migratory policy which is what brought Conte's government to power in the most recent elections.

VAUSE: OK, we'll just finish up here with Rudy Giuliani, the president's outside lawyer who seems to have taken the sideshow bob approach to defending the president.

Saving a lot of rights it started out with this claim on CNN about collusion. Listen to Giuliani.


GIULIANI: Which I don't even know if that's a crime colluding about Russians.


GIULIANI: You start -- you start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime. The hacking is the --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's certainly is the original problem.

GIULIANO: Well, the president didn't hack.

CAMEROTA: Of course, not. That's the original --

GIULIANI: He didn't pay them for hacking.


VAUSE: OK, that was just the start of Rudy Giuliani's weird, awful, not really kind of sensible day. He also gave details about a strategy meeting two days before that infamous Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin links lawyers.

That meeting is at the center of the obstruction of justice investigation. Giuliani talked about a new meaning that no one had ever heard about before. And then, he won't on the stress that candidate Donald Trump, absolutely, positively wasn't fair.


GIULIANI: He did not just fit any meeting about the Russian transaction.


GIULIANI: The president said none. And the other people at the meeting that he claims he had without the president about it say he was never there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: They went on, Bill, to say that, that meeting never happened. It was just Michael Cohen was going to talk about it because on report. You know, it was a whole mess. I guess, the bottom line here is how much harm is Giuliani doing right now to the president.

SCHNEIDER: Well, he is doing a lot of harm. And right now, Michael Cohen looks like the shrewd guy in this entire confrontation. Because Michael Cohen is the one guy who really does know what happened. He was Trump's fixer. He was Trump's lawyer.

And the whole country, if not the whole world is waiting to hear exactly what Michael Cohen knows. Giuliani is attacking Michael Cohen and his attorney. But Giuliani doesn't appear to know what he's talking about.

VAUSE: Yes, just hatefully, absolutely. It was -- it was not a good day for the former mayor of New York. Bill, thank you being with us. Also Dom, thanks for getting up early there in Berlin. Appreciate it.

THOMAS: There's thanks, John.

VAUSE: OK. Next here on NEWSROOM L.A. The Palestinian teenager, who slapped an Israeli soldier last year, has been released from prison. She has big plans for the future. We'll tell you what they are in a moment.

Also, ahead of wildfire raging in California. So big and so hot, it's creating its own weather system. The very latest on the fight to trying to stop it.


[01:20:53] VAUSE: Palestinian teenager who spent eight months in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier is now free. She's become the symbol of resistance for many Palestinians after video of the incident went viral.

The young activists sat down with CNN's Ian Lee to talk about what happened and what's next.


IAN LEE, CNN FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It's a life Ahed Tamimi couldn't have anticipated. Shooting to fame when she was 11 by staring down Israeli soldiers, the young Palestinian was on a path to international prominence, but also a prison.

It was this video in late 2017 of her hitting a soldier that for Israel, was the last straw. Moments before the incident, an Israeli soldier had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet. He survived.

Do you regret hitting the soldier? AHED TAMIMI, PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST, NABI SALIH, WEST BANK (through translator): I believed that I didn't do something wrong. I didn't go to the soldier, the soldier came to my house. The soldier forced me to do this. This is a normal reaction for what happened.

LEE: Days later, police raided the 16-year-olds' home and arrested her. Israel's defense minister told reporters at the time, whoever goes wild during the day, will be arrested at night.

Her trial in an Israeli military court lasted months. It became a lightning rod for criticism of the IDF and its treatment of Palestinian youth. Tamimi finally pled guilty to four charges of criminal acts where she disrupted an IDF soldier in carried out incitement.

She'd served a total of eight months in prison. Release Sunday, Tamimi received a hero's homecoming. But the teenager who became a Palestinian icon first wanted pistachio ice cream.

TAMIMI: It's a wonderful feeling, I haven't eat an ice cream in a long time. It's a wonderful feeling that I heard all the female prisoners are released and can eat ice cream.

LEE: Israeli officials were mute about her release. Tamimi celebrated her 17th birthday in prison and graduated high school. She says, she learned patience and studied human rights. All the while, her notoriety only grew.

How do you feel that you are now a symbol of the Palestinian cause?

TAMIMI: Of course, it makes me happy, and so proud that I succeeded to deliver the message of prisoners, my homeland, and nation. God willing, I will succeed to deliver the message that Palestinians are suffering because of occupation.

LEE: Now free, her message is a Palestinian unity and hasn't ruled out a career in politics. But one step at a time.

TAMIMI: In the future, I will register for University and study law. And someday, I want to be a famous lawyer to defend my country. The world and Palestinian society will watch Ahed Tamimi closely. So, too will Israeli authorities as she's currently on parole. Ian Lee, CNN, Nabi Salih, the West Bank.


VAUSE: A different slap on the streets of Paris shot bystanders into action. The incident was recorded and the woman who was slapped, Marie Laguerre posted the video on Facebook. She wrote it started with a man whistled at her make suggestive lewd remarks, which he told him to shut up. She claims he threw an ashtray at her. And then, followed her.

He walked away only after being confronted by witnesses to the incident. Marie Laguerre, said, "He is not the only one. Harassment is every day. This man who think everything's allowed in the street, who humiliate us, and who cannot stand being offended, it's unacceptable. It is time for this kind of behavior to end."

The new British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has made an awkward debut in his first official visit to China. And he may also be in the doghouse with his wife. Here he is bringing up his wife's nationality during a meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister.




[01:25:06] VAUSE: And later, apologize to his wife on Twitter. He said she was Japanese, she is Chinese. He says, he made a mistake because he'd recently spoken in Japanese. It is an unfortunate diplomatic slip-up given the historic strange relations between Japan and China. Other than his Chinese host, seemed to take the gap fairly lightly.

But now, some are comparing countries predecessor, Boris Johnson who was known for embarrassing gaps and insults in a very bad haircut.

The devastating wildfire that is scorching Northern California is so hot and so big. It's creating its own weather system. The air is rising and then cooling from clouds. So, that's making it difficult for forecasters to know which way the winds were blowing and where the fire will be heading.

So far, the Carr wildfire, as it's known has claimed six lives, 19 people are missing, and around a thousand structures have burned. Among the victims, 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe and her great- grandchildren, Emily and James Roberts. Her husband managed to get through on the phone as he was rushing to save them, but it was too late.


EDDY BLEDSOE, LOST THREE FAMILY MEMBERS IN CARR FIRE: Emily said, "I love you, grandpa." Grandmom says, "I love you grandpa. And Junior says, "I love you, come and get us. Come and get us." I said I'm on my way. I said if he talked until he died. I tried to call him back, and it just went to nothing.


VAUSE: Hard to watch. The National Weather Service is warning the forecast could make the situation even worse. Let's go to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for more. Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, John, you know, it's incredible to see how quickly this has really the ferocity of this fire and how's it expanded so rapidly, as well. And the fire weather conditions -- you know, you look out for the broad perspective. Of course, you see images like this where over 1,100 structures have been consumed up about 50 percent in the past just 36 hours alone. And upwards of 90 large active fires. And the weather pattern certainly is not helping out.

In fact, it is going to be among the hottest if not the hottest, July on record in the city of Redding, not far away from where all of the damage is being done across this region. And now, having the seventh largest fire in state history.

And notice, number one, just a few months ago, October 2017 there, that was the toughest fire as far as destruction to property. And then, number six, the Nuns Fire also happening there, you know, October 2017.

So, an incredible last 12 months across this region. But you've got to think and keep in mind with weather, with the wind, essentially, all wind is, is a difference between high pressure and low pressure. And temperatures around some of these fires as much as one to thousand degree Celsius that alone creates an incredible amount of lower pressure around the flames.

And temperature, of course, in the vicinity of it, 40, 41, 42 degrees considerably higher pressure. The difference in air pressure there creates the winds that howl in the direct path of these fires. And unfortunately, we've got many of them to tell you about the Carr Fire, we know 20 percent contained.

But you notice the Ferguson Fire not far from Yosemite National Park. Also, 30 percent contained there. And the Cranston Fire towards the south, north of San Diego, almost 60 percent contained. So, we know the hot pattern is going to continue and that's the unfortunate part.

Mother Nature is certainly not helping out, but officials thinking they can make at least, a little more ground here going in towards the middle of the week with a slight cooling trend in store there. John?

VAUSE: Pedram, we appreciate the update. Thank you.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

VAUSE: Next year, Russia will not be mentioned. But still, it's the biggest test yet, for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and his wide- ranging investigation into Russian election meddling. The Trump campaign former chairman, Paul Manafort in about half a day in court facing dozens of charges relates financial crimes.


[01:31:02] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

We'll check the headlines this hour.

Donald Trump says he is willing to meet with Iran's leaders whenever they want without preconditions. It's a stark reversal from his all- caps tweet last week that Iran would suffer severe consequences if it ever threatened the U.S. again.

North Korea appears to be building new missiles less than two months after pledging to end its nuclear program in that summit with President Trump. The "Washington Post" reporting new satellite images and other information suggest liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles are being built outside capital of Pyongyang.

At least 19 people are missing in northern California as wildfires continue to burn across the region. The so-called Carr wildfire has claimed six lives in the last week. That fire is so large and so hot it's creating its own weather system.

A criminal trial begins Tuesday for Donald Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort. It's the first trial born from charges in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

CNN's Jessica Schneider has details.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Paul Manafort will soon emerge from his jail cell to face a judge and jury inside a Virginia courtroom.

PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: He's just won the primary process with a record number of votes.

SCHNEIDER: The man who served for five months as Donald Trump's campaign chairman now faces 25 criminal charges in two separate cases in Virginia and Washington D.C. amounting to a maximum of 305 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Manafort lost his fight to move this week's trial away from Alexandria, Virginia which is just across the Potomac from Washington to Roanoke, four hours outside the Beltway.

Manafort faces 18 counts of bank and tax fraud in Virginia where prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller's team have laid out nearly 500 pieces of evidence they plan to present. They'll include pictures of Manafort's five homes spanning from Manhattan to Virginia and other photos documenting his once lavish lifestyle filled with cars, high-end clothing and even a watch and other items from the self proclaimed most expensive store in the world, Bijan.

MANAFORT: Mr. Trump will be officially the nominee of the Republican Party so we're excited about that.

SCHNEIDER: Just one month after that announcement and Donald Trump clinching the Republican nomination, Paul Manafort was forced out. He left the campaign in August 2016 amid questions about his past lobbying work for the pro-Russian Ukrainian government and the payments he received.

More than a year later in late October, 2017 the special counsel's team indicted Manafort charging him with hiding the money he made in Ukraine to avoid paying taxes and then lying about his debt to secure new loans. Manafort's lawyers have been fighting the charges for months on two fronts.

In addition to the Virginia case, Manafort is charged with seven other counts in Washington, D.C. including failing to register as a foreign agent. That trial is set to start in September. In June, the D.C. district judge revoked Manafort's $10 million bail which included house arrest and sent him to a jail two hours south of Washington.

The judge scolded Manafort after prosecutors said he contacted witnesses in his case and asked them to lie.

MANAFORT: I have no foreign clients now. I have no clients. I have one client -- Donald Trump.

SCHNEIDER: The man who arguably ushered Donald Trump to the Republican nomination is now more recognizable for his mug shot. The trial will be the first major spotlight for the special counsel's team that has already secured five guilty pleas including Manafort's former deputy Rick Gates and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

So far special counsel Robert Mueller has brought 191 criminal charges against 32 people and three companies as part of his investigation into Russian meddling and other matters that arise from that investigation.

[01:34:52] Jury selection in the Manafort case is slated to begin Tuesday and depending on how long that takes opening statements could be under way later this week. Perspective jurors will fill out a 13- page questionnaire where they'll be asked how much media coverage they've seen on this case and, of course, it has been reported on extensively.

Jessica Schneider, CNN -- Washington.


VAUSE: Ambrosio Rodriguez is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor and we're grateful to you for coming in. Thank you.


VAUSE: Ok. On the eve of the trial, Manafort's legal team has decided that they're going to withdraw their appeal to an earlier decision which they've lost. The judge had ruled earlier that Mueller does in fact have the authority to go after Manafort on these charges on the basis of the Russia investigation.

That judge was a Reagan-appointed judge and he read the unsealed indictment and brief, I guess, given to him by the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. Is this a sign though that Manafort's team is now starting to cut their losses ahead of the trial?

RODRIGUEZ: I think so. I mean look, what people need to understand is just how powerful evidence in a case like this is.

This is a paper case. All the money has been chased down. They have receipt for everything -- from all the corporations he set up in Cyprus, in the Grenadines, in order to make these payments --


VAUSE: There's 500 pieces of evidence, I think, or more -- right.


VAUSE: That's a lot --

RODRIGUEZ: Well, it is in a case where -- it's a piece of evidence, not just one piece of paper. They can be the (INAUDIBLE) tax returns from 2014 --

VAUSE: Right.


VAUSE: So it's a lot of stuff.


VAUSE: ok. The crucial point is that prosecutors have said this is not about Russia, this is not about collusion. They don't intend to bring it up. "New York Times" reports "Mr. Manafort's role in the Trump campaign will be mentioned only in the limited context of a loan that Mr. Manafort obtained, prosecutors have said. One bank chairman knew Mr. Manafort's application for a loan was based on false documents but approved it because he was promised and received a position on the Trump campaign."

But in this case, plan to produce evidence that Manafort when he was working in Ukraine was bankrolled by Ukrainian oligarchs what -- $60 million to get Viktor Yanukovych elected. And Viktor Yanukovych was in the pocket of Russia's Vladimir Putin.

RODRIGUEZ: Correct. He was -- it was $75 million and he was -- right he was a puppet of Putin. And after he was overthrown or voted out he sought exile and so lives in Russia.

So sure there is -- the critics that are claiming that look, they're trying to -- Mueller is trying to use Manafort in order to flip on Trump may be right but that happens all the time in federal cases. I mean the federal government in one of those wide conspiracies will use someone in order to put pressure on them. So there is nothing new or unique about that.

VAUSE: Ok. To that point Trump's outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Monday that, you know what, Manafort he knows nothing. Here is what he said.


RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP LAWYER: Manafort does not know anything nor could it be possible he did. He was with him for four months. Four months -- they're not going to be colluding about Russians.


VAUSE: Well, he was actually with him for five and there's other relationships there as well. But if it's true that he actually doesn't know anything and I kind of doubt that for a start. But if that's true then Manafort doesn't have a lot to bargain with. If this trial is in fact going ahead as you know the president's allies have said just simply to pressure Manafort into you know, knocking (ph) on the President he doesn't have a lot of cards to play here.

RODRIGUEZ: Right. And he may not. But look, Manafort and Trump's relationship goes back to the 80s actually.

VAUSE: yes.

RODRIGUEZ: And so this kind of connection that between Manafort, Trump and possibly the Russians is something that look, I really don't -- I think that Giuliani's claim that there's no there-there might change within the next 48 hours. I mean news cycles aren't what they used to be, right.

VAUSE: Exactly. The news cyclone these days.

Also again with Giuliani he made this point that he doesn't even know if collusion is a crime. Collusion is basically similar to conspiracy.


VAUSE: He also went on to say that the real crime was the hacking of the DNC computers. And he said, Donald Trump didn't do that. And so that's what you should be looking at. But can you be the beneficiary of a crime? Like he didn't receive the information from the hacker of the DNC computer -- aren't you then part of a crime.

RODRIGUEZ: You're part of the crime if you had knowledge --

VAUSE: Right.

RODRIGUEZ: -- right. And the idea that Trump didn't know is changing by the day. That is the evidence that we're getting from the infamous Trump Tower meeting -- the story behind it from this Trump administration keeps changing --


RODRIGUEZ: And not only that -- today Giuliani hinted at there was a kind of a pre-meeting, right.


Yes. Pre-meeting right?

RODRIGUEZ: And that was -- that came out of nowhere. All of a sudden there was a meeting before the meeting, right. This has gone from Donald, Jr. saying it was a nothing burger --

VAUSE: It was about charity.



RODRIGUEZ: It was about adoptions, right. Now, to this. So Giuliani makes a statement today that he -- Trump didn't do the hacking. He doesn't have to do the hacking in order to be part of the conspiracy.


RODRIGUEZ: In fact the people atop don't do the dirty work. They have other people do it. I mean that's how a conspiracy in a pyramid works, right?

VAUSE: Yes, exactly. That's how the mob works --

[01:40:01] RODRIGUEZ: Right.

VAUSE: -- amongst other organizations.

RODRIGUEZ: Among others.

VAUSE: Ambrosio -- thank you.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.

VAUSE: Appreciate it.

We'll take a short break. When we come back here in NEWSROOM L.A. Zimbabwe's historic election is not only about who wins but how it is won might just be as important for the country's future.


VAUSE: High turnout and high hopes in Zimbabwe's historic election. Votes are being counted in the first election in 37 years without former president Robert Mugabe on the ballot.

Officials report a voter turnout of about 70 percent and many are hoping this could be the dawn of a new era to Zimbabwe.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo has more now reporting in from Harare.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They queued in the dark. And as the sun rose on Zimbabweans waiting to cast their vote, there was an unprecedented feeling of optimism. This is after all, the country's first election in almost four decades without Robert Mugabe at the helm.

GRACE, ZIMBABWEAN VOTER: I feel excited. There's freedom in the air.

SEVENZO: Many hope it's a chance for real change. Many like Grace here showing off the signature purple finger to show that she has voted.

She says it was simple and peaceful.

Wearing his trademark scarf with nation's colors the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man in charge since Mugabe was forced out in November cast his vote with a similar message.

EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE: Maybe both the process for campaigning was peaceful, the voting today is peaceful. I have no doubt that the end process of the entire electoral process will remain peaceful

SEVENZO: His main opposition, Nelson Chamisa, the young charismatic leader of the MDC Alliance Party was mobbed by a crowd of supporters as he voted in the capital, Harare.

Should he win, the 40-year-old lawyer and preacher would become Zimbabwe's youngest ever president. Dismissed but never far from the headlines, the country's 94-year-old former president Mugabe also drew attention at the polls, voting here at his childhood home.


SEVENZO: After grabbing the headlines on Sunday when he declared there is no way he would be voting for the party that has tormented him, throwing away he believes his history as ZANU-PF's longest- serving leader.

At the polls the mood has been of hope.

[01:45:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm expecting to see a lot of change in our country. We have a lot of challenges that we've been facing as a country. And I'm hoping to see whoever winning starting to make sure that they started working for the country including our condition as a nation. So that we become the bread basket of Africa that we've always been known for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would expect the counting to take place quickly and for the announcement of the result to be done as quickly as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a youth we're expecting a lot. We're expecting a lot with (INAUDIBLE). You know, some stuff happening.

SEVENZO: As the sun sets on a momentous poll no one quite knows what dawn will bring for Zimbabweans who have put down their marks for a future they hope is removed from the shadow of the past.

Farai Sevenzo, CNN -- Harare, Zimbabwe.


VAUSE: Joylene Malenga is a teacher there in Zimbabwe. She joins us now via Skype from Harare. And Joylene, last time we spoke back in November, when Mugabe was forced out. You were all smiles. Are you still smiling? How do you feel about the past 24 hours? Is this a new beginning, a new democratic, a new free Zimbabwe or just to early to know at this point?

JOYLENE MALENGA, ZIMBABWEAN TEACHER: Hi -- John. Well, thanks for having me.

I think -- I think this first thing is the elections have had such a wide array of candidates. And that's been quite exciting. And so that certainly signals a new beginning for us especially for the younger voters who perhaps this is their first or second time voting. So we are looking -- we are again looking forward to what the future holds.

VAUSE: The election monitors were allowed in for the first time in, I think 16 years. And they say for the most part the vote has been orderly, there's been no violence. You know, there was some problems like long lines in some polling stations and some stations were closed for no apparent reason.

What was your experience like? Was it pretty smooth?

MALENGA: Extremely smooth -- no mess, no fuss. Every so often the lines would get a little bit slow but most of the people who turned up did manage to vote. Just a couple of technical glitches -- excuse me -- here and there over perhaps defaced ID cards or, you know, just really, really technical things that's why people turned away. But otherwise everybody had a pretty smooth, peaceful, calm voting experience yesterday.

VAUSE: This must be the first time that the election for you there in Zimbabwe and the name Robert Mugabe was not on the ballot. Did you stop just maybe for a moment to think what that actually means?

MALENGA: I must say having lived under a Robert Mugabe government and be so in need of something -- something different, something -- a progressive mindset. No I actually didn't have a moment, of course. I was quite excited to go in and look for my candidates.

VAUSE: Yes. He did though manage to -- Robert Mugabe to insert himself in the headlines on Monday. He said he couldn't vote for the party. He was highly critical of the new leader there, Emmerson Mnangagwa and his -- that's his former trusted lieutenant, the man who ousted Mugabe from power.

This is more of what he said. Listen to this.


MUGABE: And I have during that time -- during all this time, cried for a return -- our return to constitutionality, our to return to legality, our return to freedom for our people.


VAUSE: And, you know, putting aside the absolutely sheer bizarre nature of him talking about a return to legality and freedom and the constitution, Mugabe is no longer in power but does he still have influence? Could those comments from him actually swing voters one way or the other? MALENGA: I think at this stage just before the election, he did come across as -- it came across as the irony of all the biggest ironies. And by and large, from what I've been getting from different people is that he's been largely ignored. Nobody has really been paying attention to that interview.

VAUSE: Excellent -- well, that's -- I guess maybe that's how it should be for old leaders. They should go away and keep going (INAUDIBLE). It's a tradition in many places.

Joylene -- thank you so much. It's been great to see you. And we'd like to talk to you again.

MALENGA: Thank you very much -- John. Have a good day.

VAUSE: You too. Bye-bye.

Well next here on NEWSROOM L.A. an aging movie franchise and an aging leading man pull off "Mission: Impossible" at the box office.


VAUSE: Well, the "Mission: Impossible" movie is getting rave reviews. "Fallout" is the sixth film in the franchise. It made more than $61 million when it opened this past weekend, the biggest opening ever for a "Mission: Impossible" movie which sees Tom Cruise returning more than 20 years since he first played super spy Ethan Hunt.

After 20 years, it's (INAUDIBLE) -- Sandro Monetti, TV and film journalist. Ok Tom Cruise never gets old. He's like this Peter Pan.

SANDRO MONETTI, TV AND FILM JOURNALIST: Yes. Tom Cruise, as you probably know is five year older now than Wilford Brimley was when he played his grandfather role in "Cocoon".

VAUSE: I did not know that.

MONETTI: Yes. Tom Cruise, 56 but still as agile as a teenager.

VAUSE: Unbelievable.

MONETTI: -- and the best action star in the world still.

VAUSE: Yes. And the numbers prove it. One thing though, before we get into all that -- one small fun fact for all aspiring screenwriters out there, they began shooting "Fallout" with a script which was 33 pages long.

MONETTI: Yes, they sort of filled it in as they went along. But if you think about these "Mission: Impossible" movies they're not about the witty word play, they're about the stunning visuals. So it's playing the scene, cars being crashed -- talking, talking, talking, talking in between.


VAUSE: In between like a Bond movie I guess, which had words in them I think.

Ok. You mentioned this. These movies are all about the big set pieces, the big stunts and all that kind of stuff. Cruise did most of his own, yet again. This time he had to learn how to fly a helicopter. He did that in six weeks, he had 2,000 hours.

Take a look a behind-the-scenes clip we have for you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scariest part would be 360 downward spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most pilots (INAUDIBLE) had this -- the corkscrew turn is very challenging for a pilot. It takes a lot of skill and a lot of practice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You make a mistake, somebody's going to die from it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The spiral looks like he's going to crash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boom. That's what I want.

How was that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very upsetting here.


VAUSE: Ok. The director Christopher McCoy told the "New York Times" we're always pushing for proximity because that, of course, sold more danger. Tom is weaving in and out of canyons and gullies. There was one where his rotor blades were just a few feet away from rock walls on either side. It's like flying through a broom closet."

McCoy ranks this stunt as the most dangerous ever of all of the "Mission: Impossible" movies which does beg the question, what do they do next?

MONETTI: Well, good question. I mean a helicopter, no problem for Tom. Thirty years ago, he was flying a fighter jet in "Top Gun" of course. So helicopters --


MONETTI: But you can tell he loves the stuff.


MONETTI: I mean one year ago, Tom Cruise took on "The Mummy" trying to create a new franchise of bring that classic monster movies. It didn't work. This is Tom Cruise's brand -- spectacular action. And this is what the public wanted to see him in. He knows that and the box office results bear it out.

VAUSE: But if you look at what happened in the last couple of years with Tom Cruise, he still is bankable to a point but you mentioned "The Mummy" it wasn't great. I mean -- well, Jack Reacher, the other -- not a great opening for the sequel. I think it was really (INAUDIBLE).

[01:54:59] And there's a whole bunch of movies which sort of under performed, if you like for Cruise. So was it a gamble for them to cast him in this role, a 56-year-old guy, you know, in this role once again?

MONETTI: Absolutely not because movies are now all about brands and franchises. So Jack Reacher wasn't familiar. "The Mummy" wasn't familiar. You said it's more than 20 year since the first "Mission: Impossible". People know what they're getting.

You know, would you recast "Rocky"? Would you recast the "Terminator? No. There are certain regardless of their age who are associated with these parts. And Tom Cruise will still be playing Ethan Hunt in his 70s, I --


MONETTI: -- and he'll still look 25.

VAUSE: Because they tried -- they recast Bourne, Jason Bourne.

MONETTI: Yes, did for a while.

VAUSE: The man was Jeremy Renner.


VAUSE: And he's actually -- Jeremy Renner was talked about for a while to replace Cruise because he was younger and cheaper.

MONETTI: Well, there was also the problems that Cruise was having with Paramount. I mean back in 2006 his deal at the studio was ripped up. He was effectively kicked off the lot when somebody (INAUDIBLE) in the studio and he said no, I'm sick of all your eccentricities.

Now, Tom Cruise is propping up Paramount Pictures. He's not only saving the world in the movie. He's saving the studio because they don't really have a bunch of franchises like Universal do and Disney do. It's just "Transformers" and Tom Cruise.

So until Disney buys Tom Cruise, Paramount is just -- why not?

VAUSE: Isn't it amazing how forgiving they could be when you bring in the money?

MONETTI: Isn't it? Money talks in Hollywood.

VAUSE: That shocks. Ok. We'll finish off with the burning question about Henry Cavill's mustache. McCoy tweeted this, "Henry had a full beard on his previous film and presented that one to me the day before we started shooting. We went with it on a whim."

Which, you know, you've got to feel sorry for the folks at "Justice League", Warner Brothers because they spent a ton of money, had to do a lot of CGI because they were filming "Justice League" at the same time as "Mission: Impossible".


VAUSE: But Cavill wasn't allowed to shave off the mustache. And so now they found that it's all on a whim. Was it worth it though?

MONETTI: Well, it was because Henry Cavill has never been better than he is in this movie.

VAUSE: The bar is pretty low.

MONETTI: I know. The bar is pretty low.

VAUSE: You saw "Man from UNCLE".

MONETTI: But yes. I mean the strength of these movies as the Bond the franchises has found out is if you have a really good villain it works. And so Tom Cruise --

VAUSE: Can he actually act --


VAUSE: Can he act? Can he actually --

MONETTI: Of course he can act, yes.

VAUSE: Because I haven't seen it so far.


VAUSE: I haven't seen this movie.

MONETTI: Well, it's interesting, isn't it? He was second choice for "Batman". He was second choice for James Bond. He finally got "Superman" and yes, he hasn't really connected with the public. But he's getting some of the best reviews for this movie.


MONETTI: So the people finally felt, maybe it's the mustache. Never shave it.


MONETTI: Never shave it.


MONETTI: In fact John -- you should wear one.

VAUSE: We should all wear tomorrow.

MONETTI: We should all -- absolutely.

VAUSE: Sandro -- thank you.

Mustache -- you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. The news continues -- Michael Holmes. Really? Holmes -- right after this. My goodness.