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U.N. Reports North Korea Still Making Nukes; Manafort's Accountant Gives Damaging Testimony; Manhattan Madam Interviewed by Mueller Team; U.S. Immigration Chaos; Fighting California's Fires; Zimbabwe Election; Iran Military Drills in Persian Gulf. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired August 4, 2018 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Diplomats from the U.S. and North Korea say hello in Singapore. But overshadowing their warm greetings, a United Nations' report on North Korea's ongoing nuclear and missile program. It seems they're not giving it up.

A voluntary interview with the Manhattan madam. Robert Mueller's team looks closer at her ties with President Trump's adviser, Roger Stone.

Also ahead, out-of-control wildfires and rising temperatures. We'll talk with an expert about climate change.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. We are glad you are with us. I'm Natalie Allen, live from Atlanta, and CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: We begin with disturbing information coming from a confidential new United Nations report. It says North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs. The report also says Pyongyang has been trying to sell weapons to a Syrian arms trafficker, Yemen's Houthi rebels, Libya and Sudan.

This is an embarrassing blow for President Trump and those in his administration, who were optimistic North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would follow through on his pledge to denuclearize. Our Paula Hancocks is in Seoul with more for us.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A confidential United Nations report that was given to the Sanctions Committee Friday night has shown that the North Korean government is evading sanctions with illicit ship-to-ship transfers.

It is making transfers of petroleum products at sea as well as trying to avoid the sanctions that were put on its coal exports in March of last year. This is a panel within the U.N. It's made up of independent experts.

They give their findings every six months to the Sanctions Committee, talking about the progress or lack of with North Korea.

Certainly, this particular report is fairly damming, saying that there are, quote, "increasingly sophisticated evasion techniques" being used by North Korea when it comes to these ship-to-ship transfers, that they are making sure that it's not easily recognizable.

But these tankers belong to North Korea, trying to disguise that fact. The United States, this report says, has also given the committee some evidence recently to show that North Korea is carrying out these practices, also photographic evidence.

And one U.N. member said they believe North Korea has already procured 500,000-plus barrels of refined petroleum products from January to May. Certainly it's a damming report.

They also talk about the fact that North Korea is trying to evade arms embargo. There's an embargo and sanctions on small arms on military equipment and it appears, according to this report, that North Korea is trying to circumvent that and trying to use foreign mediaries.

And it names one from Syria, to try and sell small arms to raise cash, mentioning places like Yemen, Libya, Sudan. So certainly that is going to be a red flag as well.

Of course, it's not necessarily going to surprise too many people. There have been indications and reports, even intel agencies, U.S. officials have been telling CNN that it does appear as though the nuclear and missile program for North Korea is carrying on.

We've seen some small developments, for example, the return of remains from the Korean War to the United Nations' command. We've seen 38 North tracking satellite images from North Korea, suggesting that an engine test site has started to be dismantled, one that Kim Jong-un had promised to the U.S. president.

But certainly this kind of a report and from such a credible source as the United Nations investigation panel is going to raise many questions -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


ALLEN: U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo is at the ASEAN ministers' meeting in Singapore, where he shook hands with North Korea's foreign minister just a short time ago. CNN's Ivan Watson is there too, reporting for us.

Ivan, tell us about the reaction, once it was learned about this new report?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, he spoke to journalists in the morning here in Singapore before CNN learned about this confidential U.N. report. So he did not directly address that --


WATSON: -- with reporters. He may do that in the hours to come.

But in his comments, he did allude to some of these issues and, in fact, some pretty -- some details in the report that he seemed to be alluding to. For example, the ship-to-ship transfer of petroleum, that's something that he's singled out.

He said he raised that with Southeast Asian nations here, saying they've got to help with trying to make sure that United Nations Security Counsel resolutions blocking this, that they are enforced.

So perhaps he knew about some of the details of this United Nations report. He had interesting messages, coming here to Singapore less than two months after President Trump had his historic first face-to- face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. On the one hand, you saw he deliberately walked over to North Korea's foreign minister to shake hands with him during a group photo.

But at the same had some pointed criticism of North Korea, saying that its behavior had been inconsistent with what he said was the North Koreans' leaders commitment to denuclearization. He also singled out Russia, accusing it of helping North Korea evade sanctions. Take a listen.


MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We have seen reports that Russia is aligned for joint ventures with North Korean firms and granting new work permits to North Korean guest workers. If these reports prove accurate, then we have every reason to believe they are, that would be in violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 2375.

I want to remind every nation that has supported these resolutions, that this is a serious issue and something we will discuss with Moscow.


WATSON: Natalie, hours ago, Mike Pompeo told journalists he had not had a formal meeting with the North Koreans. We don't know if there is development further beyond that handshake we just saw.

We have learned from the South Korean government that the South Korean foreign minister requested a meeting with the North Korean foreign minister and he declined -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, that is somewhat telling, isn't it?

Very interesting there. Ivan Watson for us there in Singapore, thank you so much, we appreciate it.

Paul Manafort's trial resumes on Monday after a week of damaging testimony. Manafort faces 18 counts of tax and banking crimes from before his time as the campaign manager for Donald Trump.

Bookkeepers testified on Friday that they falsified banking documents so Manafort could avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.

A web of intrigue surrounds the woman known as the Manhattan madam, who was interviewed this week by special counsel Robert Mueller's team. On the surface, Kristin Davis doesn't appear to have a connection to the Russia investigation. For more now, here's CNN's Sara Murray.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kristin Davis, the woman known as the Manhattan Madam, meeting with special counsel Robert Mueller's team for a voluntary interview earlier this week, sources tell CNN.

Investigators apparently interested in her ties to longtime adviser Roger Stone. She and Stone have been close friends for a decade. Investigators also expressed interest in having Davis testify before a grand jury, the latest indication prosecutors are aiming to build a case against Stone.

Davis' lawyer declined to comment.

In a statement, Stone tells CNN: "Kristin Davis is a longtime friend and associate of mine. I am the godfather to her 2-year-old son. She knows nothing about Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration or any other impropriety related to the 2016 election, which I thought was the subject of this probe.

"I understand she appeared voluntarily. I am highly confident she will testify truthfully, if called upon to do so."

Davis once ran a high-end prostitution ring and went to jail as part of the scandal surrounding then Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

ELIOT SPITZER (D), FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: The remorse I feel will always be with me.

MURRAY: She has worked with Stone over the years and, in late 2016, she joined his payroll to help him with clerical tasks. Mueller's team has been looking into possible contact between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 campaign.

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Yes, I followed Assange's Twitter very assiduously. I had a Google alert for him. I read every interview he gave. You could foreshadow what he's doing. I'm not involved in any collusion, coordination or conspiracy with the Russians or anyone else and there's no evidence to the contrary.

MURRAY: Investigators have also been probing Stone's finances and his personal life. People familiar with the situation say at least --


MURRAY (voice-over): -- two witnesses were asked whether Stone was actually the father of Davis' son.

Earlier this week, Stone posted a photo of Davis and her child to Instagram with this caption, "Why do FBI agents dispatched by Robert Mueller keep asking a number of my current and former associates if I am this baby's father?

"What does this have to do with Russian collusion and the 2016 election?"

This week another associate of Roger Stone, Andrew Miller, was also ordered to testify before the Mueller grand jury. Yet another indication of how the special counsel's team seems to be circling around Roger Stone -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Let's talk more about it with Steven Erlanger, chief diplomatic correspondent for "The New York Times," he is in Brussels for us.

And, as always, Steven, thank you for your time. Let's begin right there, developments in the Mueller Russia investigation in the U.S. Now we have it turning to a woman who ran a prostitution ring and went to jail. She met with the special counsel.

In the world of twists and turns in this investigation, how would you characterize this one?

STEVEN ERLANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, it gets tawdrier and tawdrier, doesn't it?

ALLEN: Yes, it does.

ERLANGER: It's like the jaws of justice grind on. It's like being caught in some kind of meat grinder. Obviously, Mueller is trying to put pressure on Stone. That's the whole point, much as he's tried to do with Manafort and others, the way he did it with Michael Cohen. You get them on all kinds of issues. Then you promise them (INAUDIBLE) immunity if they're willing to testify about what really interests you.

But my guess is, that this whole episode -- though, obviously, I don't know for sure -- is aimed at convincing Stone to talk to Mueller about his relationship with Julian Assange, because though Stone has obviously -- you have reported him clearly denying any collusion.

He did have a relationship with Assange and there is a suspicion that there was some kind of go-between between the Trump people and Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks was the conduit for the stolen e-mails from the Democratic National Committee.

So that's -- my guess is where it is and where they're heading. I don't think the activities of a Manhattan madam are particularly relevant, except as a way the to pressure Roger Stone.

ALLEN: Yes, Stone, WikiLeaks, just another example of all the tentacles dealing with this investigation. People wonder why it's going on the so long. Well, there you go.

All right, here's another angle, the trial of former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort. His accountants testifying on Friday they helped him cheat on his taxes. We also learned he was $1 million in debt in clothing spending alone -- got that from your paper -- when he volunteered to join the Trump campaign.

What's the significance of the trial we have learned so far, do you think?

ERLANGER: Well, again, it just feels like they're using issues that never really were dealt with criminally in the past, like lobbying for a foreign nation illegally without registering, to get to Manafort.

Then because Manafort isn't -- hasn't testified for Mueller, hasn't given in, they've put him on trial for all kind of financial shenanigans.

The interesting thing is why Manafort went to work for Trump, because he clearly saw Trump as an avenue to get back to the Washington lobbyist business in a big way, once his deal with Yanukovych in Ukraine had kind of fallen apart. So that's why he had so much money troubles, let alone his own, let's call it, love for very expensive clothes.

ALLEN: Well, let's get on to our breaking news story that we began with, Steven. Let's talk about that new report, that North Korea is flouting U.N. sanctions. Russia is helping them do that. And that North Korea is still building its nuclear program.

What happened to the camaraderie, the Olympics, the meeting at the DMZ and the meeting with the U.S. president?

Has the world been duped by Kim Jong-un here?

ERLANGER: Well, North Korea has been very good at delaying and delaying. They have done this to everybody. And certainly have done it to other administrations. You've talked to Christopher Hill, I'm sure, about what happened when he tried to also negotiate.

They did it to George Bush. So this is a pattern. I mean, Kim is following a pattern of giving a little but not giving much. He wants these sanctions lifted or eased.

The one thing --


ERLANGER: -- certainly the Trump administration is doing is keeping the economic pressure on North Korea to deliver. It's going to be a very long-term process because North Korea sees denuclearization as a denuclearization of the whole peninsula. And that means American forces leaving. It means South Korean forces leaving. It means the denuclearization of both sides.

You know, that is the reason -- I think one reason they're kind of holding off. Now, economically, there was no question, they are sending workers abroad. They've always done that and get hard currency from taking a good part of the income of those workers.

It sounds, at least reportedly, that that continues with Russia. The missile program is under separate U.N. sanctions but never a part of the American deal, not that we understand it. So there is a long way to go.

ALLEN: With North Korea, it's one step forward, five steps back, it seems.

ERLANGER: With a missile thrown in.

ALLEN: With a missile thrown in, thank you so much. Always appreciate your insight, Steven Erlanger. Thanks, Steven.

ERLANGER: Thanks, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, a federal judge slammed the U.S. government for failing to reunite children with their parents after they were separated from them at the border in the first place. We'll have the latest on that nightmare.

Also --


JAMES DEBORELLO (PH), LEWISTON RESIDENT: My wife and dogs got packed and they left. But I stayed to do what has to be done.

ALLEN (voice-over): A man's battle to brave the California wildfires in order to protect his home and his neighbor's animals.




ALLEN: Unacceptable. That is what a judge called the U.S. government's progress in tracking down parents who were separated from their children at the border, then later deported. Remember, more than 2,500 children were separated as a result of the Trump administration implementing a zero tolerance policy back in April.

Now nearly 500 parents still can't be located. The government suggested advocacy groups help search for them. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU, says it's willing to help.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the government's left to their own devices, they're not going to find the parents or they're not going to do it quickly. So we have said we just want these children back together. If there's any way we can help, we will.

So we have organized NGOs all over this country and all over the world to help find these parents. All we're asking from the government is give us some information about these parents so we can find them.

Right now, we have a name and a country. Some addresses here or there. We don't know if the addresses are accurate.


ALLEN: But the ACLU says the responsibility should not shift from the government. The judge agrees because there are still 711 unaccompanied minors in government custody. Parents of more than 500 kids have been deported without them. And officials say 429 of those kids are in custody while 81 have been released to a sponsor.

And if children don't get reunited with their parents, most end up with another family member or sponsor. Some go into the foster care system and they'd eventually be deported from the United States.

Let's talk more about this with immigration attorney Angeline Chen. She joins me now from Los Angeles.

I know you have been at the border working on this issue. So we have much to discuss here. I want to start with this. More than 500 children are still not reunited with their families.

Why aren't they?

What is the holdup?

ANGELINE CHEN, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: We feel that the government is not providing the right information. They don't have the data on where the parents are, where the children are, they're misclassifying the children as unaccompanied minors.

They -- we feel that government is just not cooperating.

ALLEN: Oh, my goodness. So this is a systemic issue then. These are isolated pockets, right?

This is a program that has no program?

CHEN: That's right. Again, we're not allowed to go into the children detention facilities. We haven't seen what it's like. We've heard accounts from the children coming out. It's a serious problem. People are incarcerated. This is just not being detained. This is like prison.

ALLEN: What you said you've heard from children, what kind of things are they saying" What happens to children who aren't reunited?

CHEN: We have been hearing accounts of abuse, of, you know, not having enough food, being really, really cold, not allowing siblings to hug each other.

ALLEN: Oh, my goodness.

CHEN: Yes, it's been awful.

ALLEN: What happens if these children don't have family here?

CHEN: They will most likely go into the federal foster care system. They will have to go in front of an immigration judge to represent themselves on asylum. And if they don't have an attorney, they are doing this themselves, even if they are 3 years old.

ALLEN: Well, that's insanity, isn't it?

Now the government is proposing the ACLU handle reunification. A judge just said that's unacceptable. But that is demonstrative of the complexities of this issue.

You have been there. You are a part of a group of moms who are lawyers, who have gone to the border to help with these cases.

What challenges does that confusion bring to attorneys like you and your group on these cases?

CHEN: Well, the judge demands the government to create a plan. We don't know what plan that will be. We don't know how sincere they will be in implementing a plan. What resources they will put into a plan, the people in charge, we don't know again if they will cooperate with the non-profits. It's very challenging.

ALLEN: So with no clear plan emerging, as you say, what you witness on the borders, like they're incarcerated, are there social workers?

You mentioned the non-profits. Are there social workers?

Are there volunteers?

Do people have access to try to ameliorate this?

CHEN: People do not have access to the children in detention facilities. While I was at the border in Tijuana, we were assisting families to -- trying to accompany families to go to the legal -- to go to the port of entry to legally apply for asylum.

And we were denied. They are made to be placed on a wait list, which is illegal. And so, you know, we were waiting even seven-and-a-half hours in front of the border in Tijuana --


CHEN: -- trying to bring in an accompanied minor. And they refused us. We waited for seven-and-a-half hours.

ALLEN: Why in the world were you refused?

I don't think people can understand, why has this got to be so difficult, so hard, so, just an uncooperative spirit?

Can you make sense of it?

CHEN: I can make sense of it. We're the most powerful country in the world. Customs and Border Patrol are saying they do not have the capacity, that they are maximum capacity. They can't bring any more people in, that there is a wait list.

Now the wait list in Tijuana is a thousand people. There are a thousand people waiting at the border to legally enter to apply for asylum. They are staying in migrant shelters in Tijuana that are run by volunteers.

Churches and opening their homes and putting bunk beds and beds so that these individuals and families can stay and be safe. Now again, don't forget, these people are fleeing persecution. They're fleeing their abusers, fleeing traffickers. And now they have to wait in Tijuana with this list.

ALLEN: After pretty much walking to the border a very long time. Well, we wish there was something more positive to come out of this. But right now, there just isn't. But we appreciate your time and you sharing your story. And we hope that you are back again with us, Angeline, that perhaps you will have more hopeful news that this nightmare is turning a corner somehow. Angeline Chen, thank you so much for joining us.

CHEN: Thank you so much.

ALLEN: In California, firefighters are battling 17 major fires but intense dry heat and gusting winds are not helping end that fight at all. Ivan Cabrera will have more about that.

Plus, searching for relief as Europe's deadly heat wave grabs hold on the Iberian Peninsula, but there is good news in the forecast. We have more on that coming up.





ALLEN: Welcome back to us in the U.S. and around the world. We appreciate you watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen, here are our stories.

(HEADLINES) ALLEN: Well, massive wildfires in California are covering much of the state with a blanket of smoke. That is what it looks like from space. Despite the best efforts of exhausted firefighters, some of the strongest fires continue now to grow. They're getting worse.

Three of those fires have burned more than 30,000 acres apiece. The flames are swallowing forests withered by drought and hundreds of homes as well. The Carr fire has consumed 133,000 acres alone and it is only 39 percent contained.

For more now on how people are coping, CNN's Scott McLean has this.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As fire continues to bear down on California, there is no relief in sight. After days of relative calm, high winds are once again fanning the flames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wind coming in clears the airspace so we can see what we're doing and actually have an aerial firefight. However, it does mean increased fire activity.

MCLEAN (voice-over): At the Carr fire, which has already destroyed more than 1,000 homes, hot and dry conditions have made the hillsides tinder dry with not a drop of rain in the forecast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would really help is a shift in Mother Nature.

MCLEAN (voice-over): In the small town of Lewiston, there is heavy smoke just over the ridge, as a nonstop cycle of helicopters drops fire retardant on the mountains. Almost everyone in town has long evacuated. But not James Deborello (ph).

DEBORELLO (PH): My wife and dogs got back and they left. But I stayed to do what has to be done.

MCLEAN (voice-over): With his neighbors long gone, Deborello (ph) has volunteered to feed their cats.

DEBORELLO (PH): Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.

MCLEAN (voice-over): And even their turkeys, too.

DEBORELLO (PH): Yes, they couldn't make it this morning. So Uncle James is going to take care of you.

MCLEAN (voice-over): He has nothing packed and no plans to leave.

DEBORELLO (PH): At the worst, I'll just jump in the river and let it burn over.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Armed with two water trucks and a friend, he is planning to defend his neighborhood, even if flames reach town.

MCLEAN: When you look over the ridge and you see smoke, are you not afraid?

DEBORELLO (PH): When your number's up, your number is up.

MCLEAN: More than a dozen fires are still burning across the state. Visible even from space. Officials reporting Friday morning the Mendocino Complex fire is now even bigger than the Carr fire, threatening over 9,000 buildings. Even as big flames have crossed over the ridge and toward the community of Upper Lake...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kids have left, the grandkids have left.

MCLEAN (voice-over): -- some like Theresa Pena (ph) are ignoring evacuation orders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got to stay here until the flames are right at my door because I ain't got nowhere else.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Scott McLean, CNN, Lewiston, California.


ALLEN: Intense heat affecting California and parts of Europe are in the grip of a deadly heat wave. The Iberian Peninsula is reaching near record high temperatures. Three people in Spain died from heatstroke this week. Temperatures reached 45 degrees Friday, the hottest day this year. But change is on the way, we're told.



ALLEN: Again, a summer of extreme heat for much of the world. And things could get only worse. Let's talk it over with Bob Ward, he's the policy and communications director for the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. He joins us now from London.

Thank you so much for being with us. You have written many of the deaths that we have seen -- I mean, it's been Japan, it's been in Europe. Now Spain -- could have been prevented had government warned the public of the risk of heat waves due to climate change.

Can you elaborate on that?

BOB WARD, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Well, certainly in countries that are further north, they're more used to worrying about cold weather in the winter. A lot of the buildings are designed in order to try to keep heat in.

What we are finding is that, with climate change, we are seeing more frequent, more intense hot weather during the summers and a lot of buildings are not well designed. They tend to trap the heat and cause heat stress.

For people who are particularly vulnerable, people who have underlying, say, lung illnesses, that can be a deadly combination. You quite often find that -- we will have seen hundreds of deaths, for instance, in the U.K. and across Northern Europe during this extended period of heat.

A lot of those are people who live alone and have basically suffered in the heat on their own and haven't been able to get help. It's kind of a hidden public health emergency because these people don't arrive at hospital. They just are discovered dead in their homes.

ALLEN: Right. We've seen these record breaking years. It keeps getting worse and worse. People are warned about storms, typhoons, floods, take cover. But it seems we haven't made extreme heat a part of the collective warning system.

WARD: Climate change is having an impact on all aspects of climate and weather. Trying to cope with all of those different changes is the big problem. So you have increased frequency of heat waves and drought conditions, increased frequency of heavy rainfall in others, you've got sea level rise causing increased risk of coastal flooding.

All these things are all happening at the same time, which is why it's such a problem. The problem with heat waves is because they tax people who are vulnerable. And it's complicated by other factors like, in city areas, where you've got high levels of local air pollution, that adds to the problem --


WARD: -- that it means that it's not always obvious that the heat waves are driving it. It's almost like a complicating factor. Similarly with the wildfires you've seen in California and recently in Greece as well, climate change is one of the risk factors. You need an abundance of dry wood. But you also need high winds.

We're not quite sure at the moment how climate change might be affecting the occurrence of high winds. But we do know that California has been suffered a series of droughts, terrible expended drought between 2011 and 2017.

And then earlier this winter, where it was very dry, these are the risk factors increasing the likelihood of these things happening.

ALLEN: Last question for you, the world has addressed climate change. It came together for the Paris climate accord. Of course, the Trump administration bailed on that.

So is this an issue of the world still not addressing the serious impact of climate change and taking it seriously?

WARD: I think people have not quite realized yet that climate change has arrived and this is what's happening. And for the next three or four decades, it's just going to get worse. We just have to learn to cope. Beyond that, we have a choice. If we cut our emissions strongly and urgently, we won't end up, by the end of the century, dealing with things which, frankly are simply we will not be able to cope with. It will be a magnitude of impact that are just simply unthinkable compared to what we're dealing with now. ALLEN: Sadly the United States is considering easing emissions right now. We have a ways to go.

Bob Ward, we appreciate your comments, thank you for your insights.

WARD: Thank you.

ALLEN: Zimbabwe's presidential election is over. But while some celebrate, others reject the outcome. Why the opposition says the result isn't legitimate, coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.





ALLEN: Five days on from its presidential election, the stability Zimbabwe sought has yet to appear. The president has called for calm after violence broke out when preliminary results were released. The opposition party leader says the vote was rigged.


NELSON CHAMISA, ZIMBABWEAN OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER: We are not accepting (INAUDIBLE). We are not accepting this (INAUDIBLE). We want the (INAUDIBLE).

We will pursue all means necessary, legal and constitutional, to make sure that we protect the people's vote. The people have voted. They are cheated. The people have won. They are subverting that win. We will not allow it and we will not accept.


ALLEN: For Zimbabwe, this vote is critical, a stable election would go far to attract foreign investment and revive a sinking economy. David McKenzie joins us now. He's in Harare, Zimbabwe, with the latest on the fallout from the election.

David, hello.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Natalie, yes, just in a short time we believe that at least 20 opposition supporters will be facing the judge in this criminal court here in Harare, accused of inciting violence, a very Mugabe-era kind of charge.

It does point to the intimidation oppositionists saying they are under in this post-election period. They say that the election was rigged, that there was fudging of the numbers at the polling stations and beyond.

But they haven't offered any evidence. Abd as you say, it's a critical election for Zimbabwe. The president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said he would welcome any opposition challenge to the results. They can take that to the courts, he says.

But he is calling on calm and for a divided country to be united. It is calm on the streets here in Harare. People mostly going on about their business. But this is still the standoff, this political standoff, that is leaving the country in limbo -- Natalie.

ALLEN: You know, David, this is a country with highly educated, yet so many young people haven't had jobs, feel like they don't have a future. There is so much at stake for Zimbabwe in all of this, correct?

MCKENZIE: That's right. Yes, the youth here in Harare, at least, backed the opposition party by a large degree; out in the rural areas, it was a different story. If you look around the streets this morning on the lines outside the banks, people just trying to get their daily allotment of cash.

That is the struggle for many Zimbabweans, just making ends meet while the politicians squabble over this election. But there is a sense that, if they can get this right, they might see investment returned to the country on a political level.

The ruling Zanu-PF party wants this election to be accepted because they are still targeted sanctions on many of their individuals from the E.U. and the U.S. Those countries and regions are holding their final judgment on this disputed election.

ALLEN: We certainly hope this has a good ending so they can move on. David McKenzie for us in Harare, thank you so much, David.

Ahead here, we take you to the Persian Gulf, where Iran is conducting naval exercises months ahead of schedule.

The question is, what are they up to?

We will talk with our Nic Robertson about that.






ALLEN: We turn to the Persian Gulf now, where the U.S. is keeping a close eye on Iran's military exercises. There is concern Tehran is using a show of force to demonstrate it can shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a critical passage for global oil supplies.

Our Nic Robertson is following this story for us from Abu Dhabi.

The question is, what is behind Iran's plan to do this? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It does seem to center on the issue of upcoming U.S. sanctions on Tehran. Of course, these are coming into play now after President Trump pulled the United States unilaterally out of that multi-national JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran.

So Iran is worried, it seems, that there is going to be a knock-on economic impact. Indeed, that's already happening. What we've heard from the commander of the forces, who we understand from U.S. Defense officials, is leading these naval exercises, he has said if Iran is unable to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz, that one else will.

That has been echoed by Iran's president and the supreme leader. So that's the concern here because it looks like this massive military exercise, as these Pentagon officials are calling it, could be a hint that that's Iran's intention, to block that. What we know about the sanctions, however, is that some come into effect early next week.

That would affect buying a dollar's hard currency, buying of gold or other precious metals. That seems to be having an effect on the economy at the moment. But the effect on oil products and shipping, i.e. the Strait of Hormuz, that's not due to come into effect until November.

So why this military exercise now?

Again, it's the question mark that has everyone wondering what the intent is.

ALLEN: And if they were to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, what would be involved?

Who would be involved opening it back up?

ROBERTSON: It's a really tough question to answer, because the shipping that passes through there is from so many different nations. What we've seen in the past is when there were threats, there was Iran-Iraq War in the '80s that led to what were known as --


ROBERTSON: -- this Tanker War, going through the Strait of Hormuz there, ships were reflagged with Kuwaiti flags. They were escorted by U.S. Naval ships to get them through.

It's a much more complicated picture today. But we know, strategically, the region has been preparing for this; Saudi Arabia, for example, exports, its oil products now down through the Red Sea, although there are problems there because of Yemen.

We know that the Emirates here, for example, have developed a strategic pipeline that would allow them and does allow them today to export up to 1.5 million barrels of oil a day through a massive pipeline that bypasses the Strait of Hormuz. But there's no doubt about it, any disruption and uncertainty in the oil markets over any, even a minor closure or one ship being attacked in the Strait of Hormuz would have a knock-on impact on the price of oil. It would force it up --


ALLEN: Right. It would affect many companies in the world. We know you'll be following it for us, Nic Robertson there in Abu Dhabi. Nic, as always, thank you.

Finally here, the new era for American space travel. NASA has selected nine astronauts, voila, there they are, to be the first to blast off from American soil since the days of the space shuttle program.

The new manned missions are slated to start next year, part of NASA's collaboration with Boeing and SpaceX. The U.S. president is behind this public-private partnership, tweeting, "We have the greatest facilities in the world and we are now letting the private sector pay to use them. Exciting things happening."

We'll end on that one, thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. For viewers in North America, "NEW DAY" is next. For everyone else, stay with us for "AMANPOUR." Thanks for watching.