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Family and Friends Say Farewell to John McCain; U.S. Pulls Palestinian Aid; Catholic Church Sexual Abuse; Animals Abandoned in Aquarium. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired September 2, 2018 - 03:00   ET





MEGHAN MCCAIN, ABC NEWS HOST: My father was a great man. He was a great warrior. He was a great American.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In powerful eulogies for John McCain, his daughter and former presidents make not so subtle statements about the current U.S. president.

Israel praises the U.S. and the E.U. urges it to reconsider after the Trump administration ends aid for Palestinian refugees.

And global outrage grows as hundreds of animals, including a bottlenose dolphin, remain locked in an aquarium closed for months.

These stories are ahead. Live from CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen. Great to have you with us.


ALLEN: A display of ceremony and unity in Washington as friends and family celebrate the life, service and impact of the late senator, John McCain. Among the tributes were those given by former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who sent a message of bipartisanship at a time when Washington is deeply divided.

Noticeably absent from the ceremony, president Donald Trump, who was not invited at McCain's request. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more on the moments from the ceremony.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington paid tribute and bid farewell to John McCain, an American patriot and politician.

At the Washington National Cathedral, a living tableau of history, a who's who of leaders of all stripes, assembling to say goodbye to a war hero and veteran Republican senator. McCain's daughter, Meghan, overcome with grief and emotion throughout the week, spoke passionately about her father with a poignant and pointed message.

M. MCCAIN: We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege.

ZELENY (voice-over): Inside the soaring cathedral, it was the first of several references to President Trump and his own brand of politics her father reviled.

M. MCCAIN: The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.

ZELENY (voice-over): The funeral unfolded as a parting lesson in civility from McCain himself. To eulogize him, he invited two men who extinguished his own dreams for the White House, George W. Bush, who won a bitter primary fight in 2000, and Barack Obama, who prevailed in 2008.

Amid moments of humor...

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From trouble- making plebe to presidential candidate --

ZELENY (voice-over): -- praise for McCain's core beliefs.

BUSH: At various points throughout his long career John confronted policies and practices that he believed were unworthy of his country. To the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist, we are better than this. America is better than this.

ZELENY (voice-over): But the personal tributes came with a sharp critique of today's tribal politics.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage, it's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but, in fact, is born of fear.

John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.

ZELENY (voice-over): Despite deep differences over politics and policy -- and Obama said there were many with McCain -- he still fostered a sense of American unity.

OBAMA: When all was said and done, we were on the same team. We never doubted we were on the same team.

ZELENY (voice-over): While President Trump's name was never spoken, his absence was an unmistakable undercurrent. McCain made clear he didn't want him there. The two men's strained relationship goes back to the 2016 campaign, when Trump insulted McCain's military service, saying "real American heroes aren't shot down."

Yet several of the president's advisers were on hand, including his daughter, Ivanka; son-in-law, Jared Kushner; chief of staff, John Kelly, and Defense Secretary James Mattis. The senator was sent off in scripture and song, with opera star Renee Fleming's gripping rendition of "Danny Boy."


ZELENY (voice-over): He'll be laid to rest Sunday in a private ceremony at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.


ZELENY: The senator's final resting place will be on a grassy hill at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery, next to lifelong friend, Chuck Larson, another veteran of the Vietnam War.

He selected this out of the way spot in the shadow of Navy midshipmen like he once was, rather than at Arlington National Cemetery, where his father and grandfather, both admirals, are buried -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Joining us is Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University.

Julian, thank you for coming in, we appreciate it.


ALLEN: First of all, presidents from different parties sat next to each other at Senator McCain's funeral. Both spoke to praise his dedication, his hard work. And the spirit of the funeral was cooperation and bipartisanship. Of course, it was a funeral and that's when people do come together.

But it's not the tone we hear today very much in our country or in Congress or from the White House, is it?

ZELIZER: No, that's absolutely right. Part of why it was so moving was obviously the memory of Senator McCain and the tribute to him. Part of it is, it's not what Washington is.

For all the good feeling that there was today and really for a lot of this week from a lot of Washington, unfortunately, when everyone gets back to work, it will be more partisan, more bitter and none of that really goes away, even with everything that was said today.

ALLEN: And that's too bad that somehow we can't get it back in this country.

Let's discuss President Trump. He was not invited to the funeral. He has made fun of Senator McCain and belittled his sacrifice and service. And the president spent the funeral tweeting about NAFTA. There's one tweet right there.

Why do you think President Trump cannot or will not embrace more of the healing tone that was heard at the funeral from American leaders?

Do you think, in part, it's because he feels under attack with the Russia investigation?

ZELIZER: I don't know if it's that. I think even before the Russia investigation ever started, in the campaign, you saw the same President Trump and Donald Trump. This is his personality. It's very vindictive. He really attacks, attacks, attacks.

And I think, even in a moment like this, he can almost not prevent restraining himself. And he obviously harbors very bitter feelings about the late Senator McCain and he made that clear this whole week.

So I think this is not about the Russia investigation. This is more about who President Trump really is.

ALLEN: And we also heard from Senator McCain's daughter at the funeral. She alluded to Mr. Trump in her emotional tribute to her father. Let's listen to a portion.


M. MCCAIN: The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.


ALLEN: You could feel her pain brought on by her loss. It seemed also to be about Mr. Trump's treatment of her father.

Were you surprised she went there?

ZELIZER: A little bit. But she has some of her father in her. And I'm sure the family feels really angry about the way that he was treated.

And, again, not just this week but going all the way back to the campaign. The president had really, really rough words for Senator McCain and they believe that President Trump represents a politics that is antithetical to what Senator McCain was about.

So some of that was going to come out. And it came out in many of the eulogies. Even in his death in some ways, Senator McCain made a statement about American politics and where it is in the era of Trump.

ALLEN: If U.S. citizens continue to be somewhat bombarded from various quarters in the country with vitriol and hatefulness, what do you think that might do to the American psyche, the American spirit?

ZELIZER: It's damaging. It's harmful. We've been through moments like this before: 50 years ago, 1968. The feelings were just as bitter. We've gotten through it. So that's the good news. The bad news, though, is this doesn't go away quickly. The scars

continue. The damage from the polarization will last because many people in the electorate absorb the hatred in Washington.

And that creeps into our personal relationships, our social networks. So there will be a lot of rebuilding work and we'll need more leaders in the next generation to help us get into a better place.

ALLEN: Well, it is a holiday weekend here in the United States. Hopefully, folks are taking a break, perhaps, and reconstituting themselves. We really appreciate your thoughts. Julian Zelizer for us, thank you.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: President Trump is again threatening to exclude Canada from a revised --


ALLEN: -- North American Free Trade Agreement. Negotiators from both countries have struggled to agree on several contentious issues but they will try again when talks resume in Washington this week.

President Trump claimed on Saturday there's no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA. Economists say a trade deal without Canada would have major negative consequences for the U.S. and Canadian economies.

A U.N. agency that helps more than 5 million Palestinian refugees no longer has the funding support of the U.S. government. Israel praises the decision but Palestinian leaders and reportedly some U.S. officials say it could bring more violence. CNN's Ian Lee joins us live from Jerusalem.

Ian, you've been covering violent outbreaks there recently. This would be the last thing, if that were to happen, the region needs.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie. Right now there is a delicate negotiation under way to try to maintain this peace that we're seeing right now between militants in Gaza and Israel.

You can remember earlier this year, there had been a round of violence between the two. And for the past month it's been fairly quiet, which has been unusual. But you're right, this latest move by the United States will likely increase tensions.

But this isn't something that has come out of the blue. This is something that, at least for the Israelis, they've been advocating for a long time. Earlier this year, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that it was UNRWA that perpetuates the conflict and he has said a lot of things about this agency. Here's just some of that.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I suggest a gradual conversion of all funds going to UNRWA to other agencies that deal with the question of refugees and actually have criteria.

This will not have negative effects; it will have positive effects because the perpetuation of the dream of bringing the descendents of refugees back to Jaffa is what sustains this conflict.


LEE: Natalie, for UNRWA, their mandate comes from the U.N. General assembly. So even the United States couldn't shut down the organization; it would have to be the U.N. We also heard from UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunnis (ph). He told us it's not UNRWA that perpetuates the conflict, it's the conflict that perpetuates UNRWA.

UNRWA provides many services to Palestinian refugees and he says that will cease once the conflict is solved. So until that happens, he says that UNRWA will continue to fulfill its mandate.

ALLEN: Which they supply health care and education as well.

Has there been international reaction to this decision by the U.S. government yet, Ian?

LEE: Well, this has created a blow to UNRWA. And other countries are taking notice because this agency does provide services not just for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza but also in Jordan, in Syria, in Lebanon, where there are large Palestinian refugee communities.

These are vital services for a lot of those, especially in Syria and Lebanon, where they don't have Jordanian citizenship.

So there has been a lot of condemnation. At the E.U., which is the second largest donor to UNRWA, they came out with a statement, essentially saying that the regrettable decision of the U.S. to no longer be part of this international and multilateral effort leaves a substantial gap and we hope the U.S. can reconsider their decision.

The U.S. has always played and will continue to play an essential role in any effort to achieve peace in the Middle East. The E.U. will continue to engage with the U.S. and its other regional international partners to work toward that common goal.

With this huge deficit now that UNRWA is facing, they say they are going to go out to other donor nations, hoping that other countries can pick up the slack.

ALLEN: All right, Ian Lee for us, we appreciate your reporting, thank you.

Explosions have reportedly rocked a Syrian military airport in Damascus. A private pro-government news outlet first reported Israeli airstrikes hit the base on Saturday. State media later denied that.

They cited a military source, saying an electrical issue lead to an explosion at an ammo dump. Images on social media showed bright lights in the night sky but their source is unclear. In the past, state media have widely reported Israeli airstrikes against Syrian military targets.

What was the strongest storm of this year is heading toward Japan. It is losing some --


ALLEN: -- strength but it's still posing a threat. The latest on the typhoon just ahead.

Plus in Latin, bono vox means good voice. But that was not the case for the singer with that name. We'll tell you about that coming up here.




ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

Police say the suspect in a knife attack in Amsterdam's central train station had a terrorist motive. They believe the 19-year-old Afghan man acted alone. Two Americans were stabbed and seriously injured in Friday's attack.

The suspect is recovering in the hospital after police shot him. Dutch officials are working with Germany, where the suspect has legal residency.

A U.S. Catholic leader is asking for forgiveness for how he handled the clergy sex abuse scandal in the state of Pennsylvania when he was bishop there.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl is facing calls to step down after an explosive grand jury report that more than 300 priests in the state were credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children since 1947.

Nearly all the cases investigated by Pennsylvania fall outside the statute of limitations. But charges can still be filed in two of the cases, which are under investigation. For more on this, here's CNN's Rosa Flores.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was another tumultuous week for a powerful and controversial figure in the nation's capital. Accusations, denials, calls for resignations. But this palace intrigue has nothing to do with government.

Still reeling from the damning grand jury report in Pennsylvania, the Catholic Church is weathering a storm of biblical proportions from within its own ranks over the handling of sex abuse. The eye of that storm here in Washington, D.C., where cardinal Donald

Wuerl, the former bishop of Pittsburgh and a key ally of Pope Francis, has been laying low ever since being implicated in what the Pennsylvania attorney general called a widespread cover-up that he says reaches the Vatican.

JOSH SHAPIRO, PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Bishops knew about it and covered it up.

FLORES (voice-over): In an extraordinary letter sent to his priests this week, Wuerl asked for, quote, "forgiveness in my errors for judgment, for my inadequacies and also for your acceptance of my contrition for any suffering I have caused."

Words, however, are not enough for some high-profile Catholics in D.C., who are nevertheless calling for his ouster. Among them, one of his own priests, a group of Catholic school teachers, the attorney general of Washington, D.C., and even the president of a Catholic --


FLORES (voice-over): -- university.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I think Cardinal Wuerl should resign.

FLORES: The cardinal denies any wrongdoing and says he is not resigning. In fact, he announced that he will be celebrating mass at this Washington church on Sunday to share his thoughts on, quote, "accountability and transparency that would permit the church to enter into a new era."

FLORES (voice-over): As the embattled cardinal made his case this week for why he should stay, another bombshell.

Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican's former ambassador to the U.S., alleged in a lengthy letter that Wuerl not only knew about the alleged abuses of his disgraced predecessor, cardinal Theodore McCarrick, but that Pope Francis did as well, something the pope refused to address when he was asked about it on the papal plane.

POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I will not say one word on this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The church's systematic cover-up of sexual abuse, of children and vulnerable adults --

FLORES (voice-over): Survivors imploring law enforcement to act. That's why a group of survivors, holding pictures of themselves at the age they were abused, stood outside the Vatican embassy in Washington to demand that the files that would prove who knew what and when, be released, either voluntarily or, if necessary, by involving the Department of Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what we need most of all is a federal level investigation. We've been asking for that.

How many screaming headlines do you need year after year that they're committing child sex crimes in every city in the United States?

FLORES (voice-over): Rosa Flores, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: We'll continue to cover the stories and any developments from Rosa's story there.

As dangerous Typhoon Jebi turns closer to Japan, final preparations should be under way to protect life and property across southern parts of the country and they've done this before many, many times.


ALLEN: Rock band U2 canceled its Berlin show on Saturday after lead singer Bono lost his voice suddenly. He sang a few songs before suffering a complete loss of voice, according to the band.


ALLEN: Concertgoers say on stage Bono has said he thought it was the smoke from the smoke machines. U2 is next set to perform a sold-out show in Cologne, Germany, on Tuesday. We wish him well.

Here's a heartbreaker, if you ever heard a dolphin cry. There is a dolphin in Japan named Honey, who survived being hunted, years in captivity and now Honey has been abandoned in a rundown, derelict aquarium. And the dolphin is not alone. Here's Lynda Kinkade with the story.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alone and abandoned, Honey the dolphin swims in her tank at a deserted aquarium in Japan. With no companions, nor visitors in the stands, it's a lonely existence for the bottlenose dolphin who once lived in the open ocean.

The aquarium in the city of Tashi just east of Tokyo shut down in January because of a lack of visitors. Since then, employees have been feeding honey and the other animals left behind, including 40 penguins and hundreds of fish and reptiles.

SACHIKO AZUMA, LOCAL ACTIVIST, PUT AN END TO ANIMAL CRUELTY AND EXPLOITATION (through translator): I did not expect that the animals would be abandoned. However, even in February, people were able to see there were still animals in the park.

So I started researching and found out that the negotiations to transfer them had not progressed.

KINKADE: City officials say they have not been able to contact the owners of the aquarium about what they intend to do with the animals. And as word spreads about the derelict condition, public outrage is growing.

AZUMA: The aquarium is an agency dealing with animals. So, it's their responsibility to explain what they're going to do with Honey and the other animals.

KINKADE: Animal welfare activists say Honey is showing signs of stress.

AKIKO MITSUNOBU, CHIEF, AQUARIUM ISSUES FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS CENTER (through translator): I think dolphins staying like this without swimming, affects their mental health badly.

KINKADE: Honey's fate, it seems, went from bad to worse. She was captured in an annual dolphin hunt in 2005 in the port of Taji. That was featured in the film, "The Coat."

Many dolphins are killed for their meat and some are sold to marine parts like Honey. The Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums has since agreed to stop buying dolphins from there.

Social media uses a spreading Honey story trying to find her a new home. But until then, she continues to swim in solitude. Waiting on a rescue from a species that has already led her down.

MITSUNOBU: I see Honey as a symbol of both a problem of having animals in captivity and the problem of what happens when they are put on display.

KINKADE (voice-over): Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


ALLEN: That is just so cruel. We hope we have a happy ending for Honey soon. We'll keep you posted.

Thanks for watching. I'll be right back with our top stories.