Return to Transcripts main page


Abortion Hot Debate in a Catholic Country; Mueller Team Pressing for an Interview with Trump; Canada and Saudi Gap Worsen; Argentina Senate Rejects Abortion Bill 38-31; U.S. Sanctions Russia Over U.K. Poison Attack; 36 In Congo Killed By Deadliest Strain; Three Killed In Gaza During Israel-Gaza Cross Border Fire; Need For Aid Intensifies After Deadly Quake; Protest In China Over Peer-To-Peer Lending Crisis; Lebanon Considers Medical Marijuana. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 9, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: -- bill that divided the country. And Lebanon's government is looking for ways to jumpstart the economy and it may turn to marijuana.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all over the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN Newsroom.

It is 4 a.m. in Buenos Aires and right now there is a large police presence on the street and that is because angry demonstration broke out after Argentina's Senate rejected a landmark bill to legalize abortion.

There have been some confrontations and arrests. Since then that vote was 38 to 31 and came after hours of heated debate. Passions have been running high ever since June when the lower House narrowly passed a bill to allow abortions up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The Senate's rejection of that bill was not unexpected. But the fact that Argentina's legislature even debated and voted on the issue was extraordinary in itself considering it is a deeply Catholic country and the birth place of Pope Francis.

We want to turn now to journalist Daniel Politi who joins us on the line from Buenos Aires. Daniel, you have been following this story very closely. Talk to us about what the situation is this hour and the aftermath of this vote. And also let's focus on this vote and the outcome. But let's start with that reaction on the streets.

DANIEL POLITI, JOURNALIST: Yes, definitely. It was a strong reaction. There was bit of disturbances and a few clashes with police but they were very short lived really. I was there in the Senate when the vote happened. I went out as soon as the vote ended and by the time I got that I would say 10 minutes later, 15 minutes later it was already pretty much died down.

So, and I talk to a few other people who were there and you know, I mean, it's pretty impressive. There were hundreds of thousands of people in the street. It was a chilly winter day. It was raining all day, and that didn't stop people from both sides from coming out into the street and expressing their support or opposition to the bill.

And I can say there are some votes unexpected, but even those who are supporting the bill who wanted it legalize say that now, that just the fact that it was debated is a victory in itself.

CHURCH: Yes. And you know, when we look at the numbers, 38 to 31 considering, you know, we are talking about a very Catholic country here, that's pretty close in a sense really, isn't it? And considering the sentiments there and how people feel about this particular issue.

POLITI: Definitely. And especially if you think about the fact that the Senate itself is as most upper chain are around the world, very pointed towards the smaller provinces. The smaller province that have a bigger say.

And in Argentina the Northern provinces which are the more rural provinces are where the church has more power. So it's not unexpected that in the Senate we always knew that the Senate was going to be the harder battle for this bill even it passes the House and it proves to be the case.

So there's no big surprise there. But it's surprises that the issue was debated abortions on the agenda and what they acted instead is that they are going to keep on (Inaudible) the response this year, it's going to be next year or the year after.

CHURCH: Right. I was going to ask you that but thanks for answering that question. Daniel Politi, thank you so much for talking with with us. We appreciate it.

Well, the United States is slapping new sanctions on Russia not for election meddling but for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in England that was back on march 4. Four days later, British police announced the Skripals were deliberately poisoned with a nerve agent.

On March 24th British Prime Minister Theresa May said Russia was to blame and that the U.K. would expel 23 Russian diplomats. And in response, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats.

Our Matthew Chance joins us now from Moscow. And Phil Black is outside 10 Downing Street in London with reaction from there.

Matthew, let's start with you and talk about Russia's likely next move in response to these new U.S. sanctions and of course the possibility of a second round of harsher sanctions in just a few months and what sort of impact these sanctions are likely to have.

MATTHEW CHANCE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, it's not clear that this first initial raft of sanctions that have been imposed on this U.S. acts, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, whether their sanctions will have any real sort of big effect initially. [03:05:07] They initially would involve the banning of dual use of substances and dual equipments, rather being sent to Russia. There will be exceptions made according to the briefings that we've have from the State Department including electronic devices concerned in space travel where of course there is technology sharing between the United States and Russia and certainly the aviation as well.

The real problem is going to become -- is going to come in three months from now when a second raft of sanctions under this act needs to be enforced. And those sanctions, although they haven't been specified may be much more draconian.

In terms of the Russian reaction has been, there's not much they can do except criticize this and of course they've done that already saying essentially that they had nothing to do with the poisoning of the Skripals in Wilshire in Britain back in March, and basically that these sanctions imposed by the United States are illegitimate.

And so that's the situation we're in. And of course, they come on top of all the other sort of proposed sanctions that are being muted in the United States at the moment to punish Russia for its allege meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

All that is added up to a very toxic environment and much more speculation and concern that much greater, much tougher sanctions are going to be coming down on Russia in the weeks and the months ahead.

CHURCH: My thanks to Matthew Chance, live there in Moscow. Let's turn to Phil Black in London. So Phil, what has been the reaction there in Britain to these U.S. sanctions?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, Downing Street has welcomed these latest sanctions. Not a surprise perhaps from the very earliest day following the Salisbury incident. Britain has sought to build a very strong international consensus condemning Russia for allegedly using a chemical weapon like this on British soil.

And there are several reasons why Britain will want that strong international consensus to endure and continue into the future. Britain's relations with Russia are in a deep freeze. It will continue to take a hard line with Russia sometime. It is not one to be standing alone internationally as it does do.

Britain cannot be sure that the threat of Novichok has passed. Remember it was some months after the initial poisoning that two British citizens came into contact with Novichok because they found what they thought was a discarded perfume bottle, and as a result a British woman, Dawn Sturgess died through being exposed to that chemical weapon.

And then looking ahead into the future there is an ongoing police investigation we know and sources have told us that police have identified two suspects seen leaving Britain on a commercial flight in the days after the initial Novichok incident.

If you follow through to its likely conclusion, the police investigation finished -- finishes, prosecution looks at the evidence that determines that there is a case here, Britain will then seek the extradition of any suspects that have been identified.

Now we already know that that won't go anywhere because the Russian Constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian nationals to third party countries. But you can expect that in that scenario there will be another aggressive round of diplomatic exchanges. And once again, Britain will not want to standing alone during that time, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Many thanks to our Phil Black joining us live there from 10 Downing Street, just after 8 in the morning, and also again, thank you to our Matthew Chance. I appreciate it.

Well, President Trump's legal team has responded to the special counsel's request for an interview with a counter offer Wednesday. Lawyer Rudy Giuliani did not disclose the terms but emphasized he wants the issue settled soon.

Kaitlan Collins has our report.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Trump's legal team responding to the special counsel's latest request for an interview today.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: We have now given him an answer. He obviously he should take a few days to consider it. But we should get this resolved.


COLLINS: The president's lawyer declining to characterize their response to Robert Mueller.


JAY SEKULOW, MEMBER, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM: We're not going to discuss the contents of the letter that we will send. But I will tell you this that our response will be is thoughtful and includes issues that are raised under the Constitution. So I will leave it at that.


COLLINS: While urging him once again to bring the investigation to an end.


GIULIANI: We do not want to run into the November elections. So back up from that, this should be over with by September 1st.


COLLINS: The response is the latest in the back and forth between the two sides that has dragged on for eight months now. Mueller indicated last week he'd be willing to limit the number of questions about obstruction of justice while maintaining he still wanted to ask those questions in person.

[03:10:03] Giuliani making clear certain questions are off limits.


GIULIANI: I could right now give you the answer that he's going to give to the question why did you fire Jim Comey? He gave it. He gave it to Lester Holt. It's on tape.


COLLINS: Openly admitting he's worried the president could perjure himself.


GIULIANI: You start to think that the only reason they want this explanation so they can come up with some kind of a perjury thing.

SEKULOW: It's called a perjury trap is something that we've talked about often.


COLLINS: While Trump has ramped up his public attacks on the special counsel, he remains at odds with his own legal team over the prospect of an interview.


SEKULOW: The president stated that he wants to do an interview. I will tell you the position of the legal team is that we do not advise that.


COLLINS: Jay Sekulow admitting--


SEKULOW: Ultimately the decision is up to the president.


COLLINS: Now sources tell CNN the reason the president is so eager to sit down with the special counsel is because he believes if he's in front of Robert Mueller he can prove his innocence and that that interview could bring this entire investigation to an end.

Now what we're seeing with this latest development from the president's legal team in response to that offer from the special counsel's team does not seem to be a closing of the gap after eight months of negotiations. But instead, we're seeing just how far apart they truly are. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, travelling with the president in New Jersey.

CHURCH: So let's talk more about all of this with with CNN political analyst, Ryan Lizza, and CNN legal analyst, Laura Coates. Good to have you both with us.



CHURCH: So Laura, let's start with you. President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani says Robert Mueller's probe should be over by September 1st. But it's not actually up to him, is it. And Giuliani insist some questions are off limits for fear of the president's perjuring himself. How will Mueller likely respond to these demands and when might he deicide it's time to trigger a subpoena?

COATES: Well, you know, Giuliani's comments are not only ambitious but a little bit arrogant because they presume that he is actually in the same bargaining position that Robert Mueller is in, and he's not. Giuliani cannot dictate the terms of a sit down meeting.

Although he can at this stage pre-subpoena, before his client would not be allowed to have his attorneys in the room if he testifies in front of its called the grand jury he can try to set some parameters.

But for him to try exclude whole categories of questions from Mueller (Inaudible) the question on particularly things that have to do with Donald Trump's actual conduct including the firing of FBI director James Comey, his statements made to a variety of news force and news agencies about this issue and his own Twitter feed, it really kind of belies all logic that he could feel as though he could actually do that.

And on the idea of why September, that's important because there is a policy in the Department of Justice that says that you should not pursue a prosecution that's going to have a direct impact on any upcoming election. And we are 90 days away from the very important midterm elections.

However, we're talking about September is the date that Giuliani wants because we have early voting here in the states as well prior to that November election. So he's trying to consider that if you wrap it up by September, it will have no impacts on even those voters who want to vote early.

CHURCH: All right. Let's close closer at that issue. Ryan, Mr. Trump's legal team wants this probe over before the November midterm elections. But there's nothing to suggest that will happen. At the same time though, Giuliani says the GOP could benefit if this drags on. So which is it? And what would the political impact likely be if this probe continues beyond November?

LIZZA: I think it's tough to say. I mean, if you look at, you know, it's tough to say whether Giuliani is right that it would benefit Republicans. A lot of Republicans aren't talking about this issue. A lot of Democrats aren't talking about this issue. It really depends on the state or the district. And whether it benefits either party is really tough -- it's very -- it's tough to know.

I think it would be good for the American public to have as much information about this as possible before they went to the polls, right? I mean, the makeup of Congress is going to be crucial when it comes to how all of this ends.

Because if Robert Mueller the prosecutor has truly decided that he cannot indict a sitting president, the forum that the end game for this investigation if there's any serious abuse of power or crimes by the president would be in Congress in an impeaching setting.

And so the makeup of Congress after the November elections is obviously incredibly important. So for that reason I think it would be good for the public, good for the country to have as many facts out there as possible.

[03:15:00] And I think, you know, when you hear Giuliani talk about this issue and a lot of the, you know, bravado and the way they talk about the prosecutor, it's not the way a normal defense attorney talks about a prosecutor.

Usually a defense attorney is very careful not to anger the prosecutor in any way, not to attack him in any way, not to tell him to get the investigation over with. But Giuliani has said and they believe that this is a political fight, it's not really a legal fight and that the most important thing is for Republicans in Congress to support the president.

Because their belief is the only end game for this is impeachment and they think they can beat that.

CHURCH: Right. And Laura, President Trump says he wants to sit down for an interview with Mueller. His legal team advises against that. How will they likely to resolve this? And what legal perils lie ahead if the president is forced to answer Mueller's question?

COATES: It's not only fascinating to watch someone do this game of I would do it but my lawyers are telling me I shouldn't. They are the bad guys here. They are the bad cops and I'm the good cop. I'm the reasonable, even tempered person who would like to do everything I possibly could in furtherance of justice. Now whether that--


CHURCH: So you don't think -- you don't think Mr. Trump has any intention of sitting down, is that what you're saying?

COATES: I think this is feigned. I think the idea that he has this sell to actually participate is really partially feigned because he wants to set in motion this notion that he has done all that he can not only in the court of public opinion, as Ryan is alluding to, for the voters' sake if there is impending impeachment proceedings but also for court of law, who will inevitably will probably find that a sitting president has to actually abide by a subpoena if it were to come to that.

And so he's going to try to say, I have been trying to negotiate in good faith all of this time and Mueller has my jugulars in his sight. That's the only reason he will not abide by my terms of it.

But ultimately he faces a great deal of legal peril here, Rosemary. Mostly because his own statements have raised red flags and it also increases the scrutiny of the special counsel on his motivation and his intent behind the firing of key players, and behind why it is he continues to make comments towards witnesses, towards his crafting of an explanatory e-mail and press release of his own son (Inaudible), the infamous Trump tower meeting with a Russian adoption lawyer.

There's a whole lot of things that gives him legal exposure. But largely, this is an issue of him trying to win both the court of public opinion and to sway the court of law to say it's Mueller who is the person to be blamed for me not being able to do what I want, which is to pursue justice.

CHURCH: Yes. And let's look at that legal exposure. Ryan, Giuliani admitted that the answer to the question why did President Trump fire James Comes is already out there when he have his answer to NBC's Lester Holt in an interview on May 11 last year.

I want to take just a quick listen to the part that he's referring to.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey. Knowing there was no good time do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, you know this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.


CHURCH: So Ryan, there it is. Mr. Trump admitting that he fired James Comey because of the Russia investigation. It's out there. Why is it there's fear of revisiting the issue? Why would that story changed?

LIZZA: They have tried -- well, remember the original story, Rosemary, was they fired Comey because they believed Comey's actions and the way that he handled the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation in 2016 violated Justice Department guidelines which we can sort of laugh the idea of Donald Trump thinking he was going to fire Comey because he thought Comey was too mean to Hillary Clinton, when of course he celebrated that during the campaign.

Well, putting that aside, that was the stated official reason the White House put out when he fired Comey. Of course he does this interview that you just played with Lester Holt and he can't help but tell what seems to me was the real reason.

Now they've tried to sort of ignore that, push that back and say no, no, that was -- you know, I'm not sure how they explain it but they've tried to go back to this original.

And look, they have another argument as well, Rosemary. Their argument is that the president because of his article two in the Constitution powers can fire anyone he wants in the executive branch and that you can't accused of obstruction of justice by taking a legal action that's within your powers.

Now there are plenty of people who are argue that that is not a sound argument but that's -- that is their -- the gist of their argument of why Trump did not commit obstruction of justice.

[03:20:03] CHURCH: All right. So much more we could discuss but we'll have to leave it there, Ryan Lizza and Laura Coates. Thank you to both of you for joining us.

LIZZA: Thanks, Rosemary.

COATES: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: I appreciate it.

And let's take a very short break here. But still to come Saudi Arabia up the ante in its diplomatic dispute with Canada. Riyadh's latest response to criticism of its human rights record.

Plus, China cracks down on protesters in Beijing. What has so many people outrage in the nation's capital. We'll take a look.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, a diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia and Canada has taken a turn for the worst. With new comments from the Saudi foreign minister. He says recent arrests are not a crack down on descent but meant to protect state security. That follows a call from Canada for the immediate release of an activist.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: We continue to engage diplomatically and politically with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We have respect for their importance in the world and recognize that they have made progress on a number of important issues, but we will, at the same time, continue to speak clearly and firmly on issues of human rights at home and abroad where we see the need.


CHURCH: Let's head to London now. And CNN money's emerging market editor, John Defterios. Good to see you, John. So we saw these tensions escalate very quickly between Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Now Russia has weighed in by supporting the Saudis. We haven't heard very much from other western nations. Why is that? And where do you think this is all going?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it's quite amazing. To me if you take a step back, Rosemary, that Saudi Arabia and Canada are actually adversaries in this case. And both sides are digging in. The Russians as you said weighed in.

The United States is keeping a low profile. The Europeans are keeping a low profile. But I think this is an effort by Saudi Arabia to suggest look, we're going to go beyond oil. We are diplomatic and military power. And Canada feels like it has to take a hard line on human rights.

And it was clear that Justin Trudeau was not going to back down and supported his foreign minister.

Pretty radical measures here by Saudi Arabia. Let's take a look at the list. But I think the two that stood out most directly for me were the fact that if you're a Saudi citizen you're taking medical treatment right now in Canada, you'll get relocated out of the country.

[03:25:04] We have slews of Saudi students in Canada as well, studying, medical students, for example, nearly a 1,000 of them. They're going to be taken out of Canada, they're on scholarships right now and they too will be relocated.

Now Saudi Arabia made their position very clear. Pretty hard line. They heard what Justin Trudeau had to say but they don't think it's acceptable. Just take a listen.


ADEL BIN AHMED AL-JUBEIR, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): What happened with us wasn't easy. When a country dictates and asks us to take procedures such as the immediate release of people arrested without knowing the background behind their arrest, this isn't acceptable.


DEFTERIOS: Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia. If you read between the lines, Rosemary, they were looking for a full fledged apology coming from Ottawa and that did not arrive. That's the reality.

And the reason Canda did interject this activist have families back in Canada. So they thought it gave them leeway to weigh in on the debate particularly from the Canadian foreign minister with the series of tweets that led to this confrontation where we are today.

CHURCH: They're not going to see that apology either. So how much concern would there be inside Saudi Arabia at this time that this could perhaps backfire and create business problems for Saudis?

DEFTERIOS: Yes, this comes at a very interesting time. If you take again, a step back and look at what Saudi Arabia is trying to achieve here, the young Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has this Saudi vision 2030 to open up the country. He's liberalized many aspects of the society. They need bring in foreign direct investment. To be blunt here if I was a Canadian investor and had a deal on the table in Saudi Arabia I'd be a little bit worried right now. This crown prince has taken a much harder line across the table with the embargoing Qatar, leading the coalition in Yemen, much harder line when it comes to Iran and the alliance with the United States on that front.

But the regional support that he has and we can bring up that chart right now. Sunni support was, you know, declarative yesterday. It was Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain. You can put UAE in that category as well, also (Inaudible) they don't like outside the interference when it comes in particular to human rights.

But it does raise question marks going forward, how open will Saudi Arabia ne if you're going to put in major theme parks to try to bring in tourism investment, welcome visitors from around the world and then come down like a hammer against a country like Canada, it raise a question mark.

And my final point on this, I think Saudi Arabia is very emboldened at this stage because they have this very close alliance with the United States, in particular, Donald Trump. The crowned prince, Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law have forged really close ties over the last two years and I think Saudi Arabia says let's use this leverage and put heat on the northern neighbor of the United States.

CHURCH: John Defterios, we always appreciate your analysis. Thank you so much.


CHURCH: And still to come here on CNN Newsroom. Israel and Hamas militants exchange fire during a renewed effort to achieve a ceasefire.

Plus, another earthquake has just rattled Indonesia's Lombok Island as the search for victims from the early deadly tremor intensifies.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: And a very welcome back. I'm Rosemary Church, I want to update you on our main stories this hour. Riot police are out on the streets at this hour to deal with pockets of unrest and demonstrations broke out after Argentina's Senate rejected a landmark bill to legalize abortion. That vote was 38-31 and came after hours of heated debate. Supporters of the legislation say they are undeterred by the defeat and will keep pressing to decriminalize abortion.

The United States has announced new sanctions against Russia in response to the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom back in March. The U.S. says Russia violated a chemical and biological warfare law. Russia denies involvement in that attack and its embassy in Washington says the sanctions are draconian. The nation's for healthcare workers are underway in Congo after Ebola

has returned. The deadliest strain of the disease has killed 36 people in this outbreak so far. The World Health Organization says fighting the virus will be complicated because it's in an active war zone. This is the 10th Ebola outbreak in Congo.

In the Middle East attempts to secure a long-term ceasefire were disrupted when Israeli defense forces exchanged fire with Gaza militants for hours along the border.

The Palestinian Ministry of health says three people were killed in Israeli strikes. Israel said, at least 150 rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza. 25 were intercepted by its aerial defense system. Our Oren Liebermann joins us now. He is near the Israel/Gaza border. So Oren, bring us up to date on what the situation is there.

OREN LEIBERMANN, CNN CORESPONDENT: The exchange of fire that started relatively late last night has not stopped. In fact, we just heard from our producer in Gaza that Israel air force carrying out a number of strikes across Gaza, this after rocket alerts or rocket alarms went off in some of the communities around us here. That has been a near constant occurrence since last night. Israel says Gaza militants led by Hamas, the militant group there, have fired more than a 150 rockets and mortars since last night.

The number of the landing in the area some 25 intercepted by the Israel's iron dome aerial defense system. And in response Israel has carry out widespread strikes against targets in Gaza. They say they targeted more than 140 Hamas military targets in Gaza across some 20 different sites. In those airstrike as you pointed out, Rosemary. Three Palestinians have been killed, according to the Palestinian Minister of health including a mother and her 1 1/2-year-old daughter, in addition to 12 others in Gaza had been injured with similar in the Israeli sites. Seven injuries according to the Israeli military.

The question now is who has the power, who has the influenced to bring about the de-escalation here as this has continued far longer than the other exchanges of fire we have seen across Israel/Gaza border, over the course of the last few weeks. Again, this started last night, it is continuing until this point. Israel has sent in reinforcements to the southern command. That is the security forces around here as well as the Gaza division has restricted outdoor activities for civilians as the firing continues here.

Again, Rosemary, one of the questions we're trying to ask here is who has the power, who has the influence to force de-escalation before this gets worse? U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nicolai Mladenov, who has been instrumental in bringing about ceasefires in some of the previous strike escalations we have seen urge both sides to step back here saying, this could lead to devastating consequences on both Israel and Gaza, if this continues.

CHURCH: Yes, And of course, Oren a major setback for any efforts to find ceasefire here, I mean, what is going to happen with that?

LEIBERMANN: So the ceasefire efforts were largely led by the United Nations and the Egyptians, who wanted to see some sort of long-term arrangements between Israel and Gaza. In fact, Hamas leaders were just in Cairo for a second time talking about some of those arrangements to see if there could be an agreement there. Israel security cabinet earlier this week were scheduled to meet again to discuss the situation in Gaza.

[03:35:00] But it's difficult for either side to make any commitments partially because of the political situation partially now because of the military situation. So, before we can begin talking about a long- term ceasefire, which is the ultimate goal, there has to be a de- escalation to the situation we are seeing right now here, Rosemary.

CHURCH: That is exactly right, Oren Liebermann bringing us up-to-date on the situation there at the border. I appreciate that.

Well another earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 has hit Indonesia's Lombok Island at this time there is no tsunami warning. It comes four days after a 6.9 quake devastated the resort area. The Indonesian news agency places the death toll at 347. Relief agencies say it could be days before the full extent of the damage from the quake is known. Amara Walker, has more now on the challenge facing rescue workers and the survivors.


AMARA WALKER, CNN NTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ten of thousand left homeless, many in crowded tents waiting for aid to arrive. On the Indonesian island of Lombok entire villages lay flat from two earthquakes in five days, the survivors are now desperate for supplies particularly in the most rural areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): Six families leave in our tent. It is very hot during the day and we are drenched with sweat, but it is chilly at night. We need some blanket and the children needs some clothes some cough medicine and milk.

WALKER: Hospitals work to treat the hundreds injured but some chooses to stay in open air tents over air-conditioned wards traumatized and fearful another building could collapse above them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): I can still feel the aftershocks at night, just last night even, that's why we need to stay alert.

WALKER: Meanwhile search and rescue efforts double down, but it is slow going, they face obstacles, roadblocks and a lack of proper excavating equipment. At the Javon Vermont, a crowd gathers to watch rescuers trying to break up concrete in search for survivors and bodies. A local Aman watches the operation remembering when the first tremor hit in Sunday's quake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): We were praying in the evening together and during the first quake we didn't run, we wanted continue, but after the second quake, we broke our prayers and run for our lives.

WALKER: The Aman says as many as 200 people were likely in attendance Sunday, it is unclear how many got out alive or how many are still trapped or crushed below the rubble including the aunt of the famed local sprinter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): My wife was buried under that mosque. That is all I'm thinking about and waiting for. Now that the heavy equipment has arrived, I hope we can retrieve the body.

WALKER: As native tried to pick up the pieces, thousands of tourists have been evacuated from Lombok and two surrounding islands. Some taking fairies to safer places, crowds waiting to board along the white fan beaches and crystal blue waters that make this a popular destination. Amara Walker, CNN.


CHURCH: Well, Beijing is seeing rare demonstrations after a lot of the people lost a lot of money they invested in peer-to-peer lenders online services that match lenders and borrowers, but they never got the profit they were promised. CNN's Matt Rivers reports.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are some of the victims being treated like criminals by the government that they say failed them. China is in the middle of a widening P2P lending crisis and protests erupted in Beijing this week. They were met by an overwhelming police response. Look at this woman, being is dragged into a cop car, another scene here hauled towards the bus this is how China deals with public protest.

This man spoke to CNN and we agreed to protect his identity he could face government retribution for speaking to us. He invested about $40,000 his and his parent's entire savings in a P2P company called Toronja, he thought it was safe.

In China the law only protects a small group of people he says not us, the masses. In early July the company collapsed. His family's savings were gone and there was nothing he could do. The company's websites said the chairman disappeared. Please open an investigation and have detained 13 people but says nothing about paying anyone back.

He said that I fear that my family will learn this my parents would be suicidal if they knew so only me and my wife know for now. 4470 P2P firms have collapsed since 2012 according to one guy (inaudible) they respected industry analysis firm. The firm says nearly 1.2 million people lost their investments worth about $11.5 billion in all. The People's Bank of China so they would crackdown on bad lenders and quote, comfort the investors, we don't know what that means and the PBOC did not reply to our request for comments.

[03:40:02] But for many that was not good enough hence the protest. They tried to take their case here, to the country's banking regulator, but the government did not let them get that far. Most of the protester were rounded up in streets, or on the subways. One person gave CNN video that he says shows police showing up and one would be protesters house and not even allowing him to leave.

Most of the protest plan for outside this building were coordinated on we chat, a messaging app that expert say the government monitors in real time though Beijing denies that and yet all signs point to the government knowing that these protests were going to happen beforehand, the massive police response shows you how far Beijing is willing to go to stamp out decent.

Another the victim lost about $200,000 told CNN the protests will likely continue. We need to fight for our rights, he says. My life is ruined. Now I am like a financial refugee. Despite the threats of jail or detention, it seems the people who already lost everything has little less to loose. Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.


CHURCH: In China is firing the latest shock in its trade war with United States. Beijing plans 25 percent tariffs on American products worth $16 billion starting later this month. U.S. chemicals and diesel fuel will be subject to the new import duties, China's plan matches U.S. tariffs announced Tuesday on products including motorcycle, speedometers and antennas. The Trump administration accuses China of unfair trade practices and wants to bring down its trade deficit with Beijing.

We will take a short break here. Still to come, a U.S. Congressman has been arrested and charged with insider trading. Plus tens of thousands in California had been place under a mandatory evacuation order to a state approaching wildfires. We are back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. A U.S. Congressman has been charged with insider trading in a scheme alleged to prevent family members from losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. He pleaded not guilty, vows to fight the accusations and win reelection. CNN's Brynn Gingras has the details.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORREPOSNDENT: Republican congressman, Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to support Donald Trump appearing in court late this afternoon after federal prosecutors charged him, his son Cameron and another man, Stephen Zarsky with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and making a false statement to the FBI.

[03:45:10] The charges stemming from an alleged insider trading scheme and partially played out on the south lawn of the White House according to court documents. At the center of it all in Australian pharmaceutical company called innate immunotherapeutic where Collins was a board member.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman Collins was told some confidential and highly sensitive information about innate, information that was not yet made public. Namely, that innate main drug, the drug innate was developing to be the backbone of the company was a total failure.

GINGRAS: According to the 30 page complaint that conversation happened while Collins attended the Annual Congressional Picnic at the White House. Federal prosecutors say Collins receive an email at 6:55 p.m. that the drug had failed its trial. At 7:10 p.m., Collins responded to the email and then proceeded to try to reach his son Cameron, the two placing six calls over a period of five minutes later that night Cameron drove to the home of Stephen Zarsky, the father of his fiancee and at 9:34 p.m. Zarsky's wife placed a call to their stockbroker to sell shares of the company according to the complaint.

Prosecutors allege that between the opening of the market on Friday, June 23 and the close of business on the following Monday, Cameron Collins sold a total of nearly 1.4 million shares of innate. All in all, prosecutors allege that Collins and the other defendants aborted more than $700,000 in loses on the stock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman Collins cheated our markets in our justice system in two ways. First, he tip his son to confidential corporate information at the expense of regular investors and then he lied about the law enforcement to cover it up.

GINGRAS: Collins who represents upstate New York became a frequent Trump surrogate on cable news during the 2016 campaign. His lawyers saying in a statement quote, we will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name. We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated.

The congressman, his son and his son's future father-in-law are out of jail and $500,000 personal recognizance bond that each have to turn in their passport and the congressman said, that he plans to face these charges even as he seeks re-election for his district in November. Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: We turn to California now where more than 16,000 structures of being threaten by three major fires and it will take weeks to contain the largest blaze in California's recorded history now nearly the size of Los Angeles. Just incredible the Mendocino complex fire has burned 1200 square kilometers, destroying almost 120 homes. Outside Los Angeles 20,000 residents under a mandatory evacuation order as another fire burns in Riverside County, a 51-year-old man faces charges for that blaze.

We turn to our meteorologists, Ivan Cabrera, he joins us now with more. It's very disturbing when you find out that somebody's actually --

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, incredible stuff here every year we think we've reached the point where it's just the worst we ever had. Remember last year in California worst fire season ever, well, guess what, 2018. Here we go, worst fire season ever, maybe 2019 will say the same thing. Rosemary the way things are going here, each and every year we are always have droughts and these heat waves have to contributes to all of this. So, where are we?

Well, we are at this point almost as large as the city of Los Angeles, if you ever been to L.A. upwards of 1300 square kilometers the fires out 1200 square kilometers as it continues to grow. That is not just one fire it is the Mendocino complex fire, we have multiple fires on going across of the same area 18 at large active fires across the entire state of California and we had a lot more generally across the West.

So this hasn't happened before the warmest month ever recorded in California the warmest July ever recorded in California were talking 2,000 - 1900's, 1800's, I mean it's never been this hot and that is of course allowed for these fires to continue to rage. The winds have been spreading more fires and then the humidity of course is very, very, low and look at what happened, I mean we don't have to take you hundreds of thousands of years of back, right. 140, that was the normal average in the 80's and we jumped to 160 in the 90's about the same, but look at this, what has happened here the last a couple of decades, 250 now that is what we are averaging across the western U.S. as far as large fires the terms of fires we have been showing you, of course, these are the weather conditions of the next several days.

[03:50:10] The winds are not going to be howling, they are not going to be terrible, but the temperatures are still going to be quite warm temperatures into the 30's in fact some areas is in the 40's with heat warnings in effect and also that low relative humidity. And I have widen this out, because again this is not just for California. We have a record of heat across the northeastern of U.S. into eastern Canada, record heat in Europe as you know and into forces of Asia's well and now we are dealing with extreme drought in, so specifically the New South Wales, this is the state broken down, we have the entire area to give you some oils impacted by intense drought the issue with this, the forecast for the next three months.

Look at this, well below average of four rainfall here, so we are not going to get any help anytime soon and that is because of an El Nino that is going to develop here. So that is not to be good at all so you got cattle and farmers are just hoping for rain, they are not going to get it. Brazing is going to be quite a problem. Let us take you to England, now I will leave you with something we've been seeing in California, these firenado is so world fires here this is incredible stuff. This is an actual industrial blaze. It could happened anywhere, you just need the ingredients and we have it there.

Warm air lifting up, this (inaudible) that formed with converging winds and the result is sometimes a spectacular firefighter is taking that shot there and it has been incredible and again those we had been seeing a lot of. You could go on, Rosemary, sometimes up to 50 meters up into the air, that one look like it was close to that.

CHURCH: It looks like pitting up to the heavens, right?

CABRERA: Yes indeed.

CHURCH: Thank you so much, I appreciate it. Well, coming up, high expectations in Lebanon, why the country is considering legalizing medical marijuana. We will take a look that back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Well, Tesla's enigmatic CEO is stirring up another

controversy, Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday. He might take the electric car company private. The tweet also caught the attention of U.S. regulations, they reportedly asked if Musk suggestion is factual and why he did it on Twitter. Former U.S. Security and Exchange Commission Chairman, Harvey Pitt, told CNN, Musk's tweet was highly unusual.


HARVEY PITT, FORMER CHAIRMAN U.S. SECURITY AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION: Musk announcements of these sort emanate from the company not from the CEO's tweet found Twitter account and in addition there made before the market opens or after the market closes. It's not so much the medium as the message, he have a very bare-bones statement and he left out important details. So there are a lot of issues I think that regulators will want to nail down before they conclude that he didn't violate any laws.


CHURCH: Tesla's Board of Directors tried to clear up the confusion saying Musk raise the issue with them last week.

Lebanon may soon go to part marijuana that is it's considering legislation to legalize medical marijuana. Our Ben Wedeman reports.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carpeted Cannabis sprawls across Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, a forbidden crop, but perhaps not much longer. The government is considering legalizing marijuana cultivation for medicinal purposes. Music to the ears of this farmer who asked that we not reveal his identity.

[03:55:10] Only the government knew its value, he says, it is like another petroleum. He shows us around the field singing the praises of the plant farmers grown in this red soil for generations.

This is not a drug, I tell you thousand-thousand 500 times he says. Cocaine, heroin, those are drugs. This is the Herb happiness my friend says when he smokes a joint his wife becomes a princess the world shines, life is beautiful. Other crops like tobacco and potatoes are increasingly difficult to grow as the climate here becomes drier under these difficult conditions weed works.

Lebanon has been struggling through prolong financial crisis, exporting countries fame cannabis, better known here as hashish that lift the struggling economy. The fact is hashish is the most logical crop to grow in this area, it requires very little in the way of inputs like water and fertilizer and they don't use any pesticides and as the farmers will tell you, the profits fairly high. While some conservative elements oppose any form of legalization, Lebanese officials are suddenly proud of their pot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many, many specialist they have studied our -- the quality of this cannabis and they say that it is one of the best in the world.

WEDEMAN: Economy and trade minister, (inaudible) is blunt about the benefits for a country deeply in debt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can provide our own $400 million-$800 million of revenues to the country.

WEDEMAN: As a solution to financial woes, Lebanese grass may be greener, yet activist Gino Raidi is concerned of the countries many recreational users will benefit if it does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way it is now, if they legalized for export for medicinal purposes, but the remain -- (inaudible) which means that thing the government might be making a lot of money out of, it has been illegal for locals and they still can get trouble for it.

WEDEMAN: But for many others these buds smell like money. Ben Wedeman, CNN in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.


CHURCH: the herb of happiness, I love that. Thanks for your company everyone. I'm Rosemary Church, the news continues with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. Have yourself a great day.