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Saudi-lead Coalition Denies Allegations; Two Reuters Journalists to Serve Seven Years in Prison; Microwave Weapons Attacks Diplomats; Afghanistan Wants Peace; Typhoon Jebi Brings More Rain to Japan. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 3, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Mixed signals after a disturbing admission. The Saudi-lead coalition in Yemen says mistakes were made in last month's school bus strike. But they insist the vehicle they hit was a legitimate target.

Plus, a guilty verdict for two Reuters journalist. They face seven years in prison for breaching a colonial era-law in Myanmar.

And later, dancing across America to fight modern slavery. We will have this British teacher's story just ahead.

Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

We begin with denials and mixed signals coming from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. And officials say an air strike in the country's north hit a legitimate target not a school bus full of children. The coalition earlier admitted mistakes in last month's attack. Houthi officials say 51 people were killed, 40 of them children.

CNN has learned that the air strike used a U.S. supplied laser-guided bomb. Human Rights Watch reports the attack was an apparent war crime. It also says countries that give the Saudi's weapons might be complicit in quote, "future atrocities."

And for more CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is tracking this story for us from London, she joins us now. So, Salma, how is it possible for the Saudi- led coalition to now deny the target was a school bus full of children given what the evidence shows.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN FIELD PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, let me talk you through exactly how this time line of events unfolded. For security of the statement, over the weekend it said that the joint incidents assessment team, so a Saudi investigative body had carried out an investigation into the strike that happened last month that left dozens of school boys dead. And that they had found that they were mistakes made in the compliance to the rules of engagement.

We pushed further. We carried out an interview with the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Colonel Turki Al-Maliki and what could only be described as an extraordinary remarks, he insisted, that the target, that bus was a legitimate target and he refused to accept that there were any boys on the bus. Take a listen to what he told us.


TURKI AL-MALIKI, SPOKESMAN, SAUDI-LED COALITION: As been announced by the Jihad yesterday it's a legitimate target. It's not a school bus. The bus is carrying some fighter's elements and they are responsible about recruitment and also some of the Houthis expert in that bus.

So it was -- has been announced by the Jihad is very legitimate target. And the only thing the only mistake being committed by the coalition is the timing. Wrong timing where the target had been conducted.


ABDELAZIZ: The only mistake there is timing. That's what you hear him saying. What he is referring to there is he, is referring to the fact that they say that the strike was called in but there was a significant delay in the time it took to actually carry out the strike at which time the bus had moved into a crowded marketplace.

And he says that was the only mistake that the coalition made in this instance. I mean, they are stunning remarks. So you have this sort of admission of guilt but not totally, Rosemary.

And remember, it's not just Riyadh that's implicated in the strike. It was a U.S. made bomb as you said that was found at that scene. Remnants of a U.S. made bomb found at the scene of that attack that killed dozens of schoolboys. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, so how do they explain the death of all those young boys and what is the United States now saying all of this given the bomb used to kill these children was supplied by the U.S.?

ABDELAZIZ: Well, again, Rosemary, we pushed Colonel Turki al-Maliki and he simply refused to acknowledge that there were school boys on that bus. He says that is the Houthi line, which is of course the rebel government in the north. That is their line. That is their story.

For us, we have evidence. We, he says, provided all that evidence to the Joint Incidents Assessment team. We have satellite footage, we have intelligence and it shows that there was Houthis and other recruiters on that bus according to him.

Now that obviously is not enough to silence critics of the Saudi-led coalition. Human Rights Watch calling the strike last month an apparent war crime. And of course you've mentioned there the U.S.'s role. As we said a U.S. made bomb that supplied that attack on those boys.

[03:04:57] CHURCH: Human Rights Watch has said anybody that sells arms to Saudi Arabia could be complicit in war crimes.

For the U.S.'s part the State Department has welcomed this statement from the Saudi-led coalition. But we do know in the past, last week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that their support is not unlimited for Saudi Arabia. Rosemary?

CHURCH: The evidence is there. We will see what happens next. Salma Abdelaziz, thank you so much for bringing us up to date on the situation.

Another big story we are following. Two journalists will spend the next seven years in the Myanmar prison. A couple of hours ago, a judge found them guilty of possessing state secrets.

The two journalists from the Reuters News Agency were investigating the massacre of Muslim Rohingya in northern Myanmar. The U.N. is among those calling for the journalists to be released.

Reuters editor-in-chief, Stephen Adler calls it a sad day for journalists everywhere.

So let's get the very latest now from our Alexandra Field. She joins us live from Hong Kong. So Alex, we are saying democracy and freedom of the press under attack in Myanmar right now, how did this all play out in court and what all did that judge say about this?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo clearly the victims of that today, that is their perception. They believe that this verdict had to do with an attack on the press. And certainly their supporters believe the same thing. They were surrounded by journalist as they left this courtroom in Yangon just a couple of hours ago.

It took about 45 minutes, Rosemary, but the judge delivered his verdict finding both men guilty of violating the States Secrets Act. He had the ability to sentence them to a maximum of 14 years in prison, instead the men were given seven years in prison and then hustled out the door of the courtroom. They said that they did nothing wrong but that the verdict did not come as a shock.

Both men were working for Reuters. Reuters editor-in-chief quick to react to the verdict with this.


STEPHEN ADLER, PRESIDENT AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REUTERS: These two admirable reporters have already reporters have already spent more than eight months in prison on false charges designed to silence their reporting and intimidate the press without any evidence of wrongdoing and in the face of compelling evidence of a police set up.

Today's ruling condemns them to the continued loss of their freedom and condones the misconduct of security forces.


FIELD: The men say that they were handed secret documents by police and then arrested right afterwards for having secret documents. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And Alex, we do understand that these two journalists will be able to appeal the judge's decision. Is there any possibility at all that this decision could be overturned if there is enough pressure brought to be by the international community?

FIELD: The international community has certainly watched this case closely from the officials in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and the U.N. calling for the release of these journalists. We are certain to hear more comments and their reaction to the verdicts today.

There's already the consideration though that this could have wider implication for the future of the press in Myanmar. Here is what Human Right Watches Asia director had to say about that.


PHIL ROBERTSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ASIA DIVISION: The problem now is what is going to happen to the rest of the media coverage. Will people increasingly shy away from any sort of critical reporting of the Burmese government or the Myanmar military?

I mean, these are the critical issues now that now face the wider public in Myanmar. Will they actually be able to find the truth about their military and government are doing in their name.


FIELD: Certainly some widespread implications pointed out there. Certainly a lot of concern for the statement freedoms of the press within Myanmar today.

As for these two journalists who have now being sentence to seven years, you've pointed out there is the possibility for appeal. Their attorney has said that they got 60 days to initiate that appeals process.

But Reuters editor-in-chief says they are wasting no time. The heat there already appealing for Myanmar's government to intercede on behalf of these men. Rosemary?

CHURCH: It is a horrifying outcome at this point and we will cover any effort there to appeal the decision. Many thanks to our Alexandra Field bringing us up to date from Hong Kong.

Well, Brazil's president calls it a sad day for all Brazilians. A massive fire burning its way through national museum in Rio. Firefighters have been scrambling to put out the flames but its feared centuries of history and millions of artifacts could be destroyed.

Here is what the museum's former director said about this blaze.


SERGIO ALEX KUGLAND DE AZEVEDO, FORMER DIRECTOR, BRAZIL NATIONAL MUSEUM (through translator): It's a loss for the world. This can never be recovered for the people, the building, there is no way to get it back. Thankfully no one dies but the loss can never be recovered. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Now the museum dates back more than 200 years and used to be a palace for the Portuguese royal family. State media say it held at least 200 million artifacts.

[03:09:59] Well, scientists believe microwave weapons may have been used to injure U.S. diplomatic staff in Cuba and China over in the past few years. Starting in 2016, those staffers reported mysterious headaches, nausea and other ailments and describe hearing strange sounds.

Well, now experts who examined them say the diplomats likely suffered brain injuries. And microwave technology was probably to blame.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann has our report.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Investigators looking into the alleged health attacks on U.S. diplomats both here in Cuba and in China have a new theory and is looking at so-called microwave weapons. These are devises that emit an electromagnetic beam of energy very precise beam of energy that can cause numerous symptoms including apparently concussions. It can cause people to hear sounds that don't actually exist.

Now initially, when U.S. diplomats complained that they were being targeted by some sort of mystery device in Cuba. Investigators say that it could involve a sonic weapon. Now they appear to have discounted sonic weapons and looking at microwaves, saying that there are weapons.

There are number of countries that have microwave weapons going back decades and that they could have been used to essentially bombard these diplomats in Cuba and China that has caused them to have concussion like symptoms.

When doctors look at their actual brain scan, they see evidence of a concussion, evidence of brain trauma but there was never a physical event that would correspond to that kind of brain trauma.

But this is a theory the FBI has come here on numerous occasions to Cuba to investigate and has not found hard proof that there were attacks against the diplomats. The Cuban government denies involvement at all. Saying they put hundreds of government officials on the case looking at any kind of attack that could have taken place any kind of health evidence and said that they found absolutely nothing.

But the U.S. has pushed back saying that the Cuban government, even if they are not behind the attack, that they must know more. Still for the moment at least this remains a theory in search of evidence.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.

CHURCH: The time for peace is now. That is the message from the outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Find out why a deal with the Taliban may be close. And typhoon Jebi is turning towards Japan. We will have an update on

the position. Just ahead.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, the head of ISIS in Afghanistan is dead. That's the word from U.S. forces there. They say it was killed at an airstrike last week. He is one of 11 ISIS fighters who died in the strike on Nangarhar province.

The military says this is the third time U.S. forces have killed a self-proclaimed head of ISIS since July 2016.

Now meanwhile, NATO's new commander in Afghanistan says the U.S. and its allies in the region will keep up the pressure on ISIS and other terror groups. General Scott Miller's comments came during a change of command ceremony in Kabul Sunday.

So let's get the very latest now from CNN's Sam Kiley. He is in Kabul, Afghanistan and joins us now live. Always good to see you, Sam. So Another ISIS leader in Afghanistan killed. What might this signal in terms of the threat posed by ISIS right now and of course its viability going forward?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Rosemary, in the first instance, this as the U.S. military and, indeed, the Afghans have confirmed this is the third significant leader in the so-called Islamic state to have been killed in one of these air strikes or Special Forces attacked using intelligence coming from the Afghan side.

Now this is a priority really for the western powers here is to go after Al Qaeda and to go after the so-called Islamic state because they have an international Jihadi agenda. And ironically, that is the same priority as the Taliban are also adapting. They too have been prioritizing attacking the so-called Islamic state.

And that was precisely what we were told when we send some questions we were answered by some Taliban commanders on the ground. And this is my report on what they said.


KILEY: Emerging from the desert a glimmer of hope coming from Taliban commanders on the ground to offer to talk and to about peace.

In this exclusive video, militia Arga (Ph) laying out the terms.

"These negotiations should be among Afghans and for Afghans, we should not wait for Pakistan, Iran, Russia or America to bring peace to Afghanistan. If people from government die they are Afghans. If Taliban died they are Afghans. Foreign countries are playing in Afghanistan to weaken Islam," he says. Taliban leaders outside Afghanistan have inched towards peace talks

but it's a rare offer from fighting commanders. Just weeks ago the Taliban over rank Ghazni. A city only 81 miles from the capital. It was recaptured and is being rebuilt.

But this brief Taliban victory has show that they may enter negotiations if they have of position of strength and increase in violence a prelude to talks have you recognized by the outgoing U.S. commander as he handed over the NATO mission to the former head of American Special Forces.

JOHN NICHOLSON, OUTGOING COMMANDER, NATO: I believe that some of the Taliban want peace also. But they are being encouraged to keep fighting.

KILEY: The successor suggesting that the focus should be directly on fighting terrorist organizations.

[03:19:56] There are groups in Afghanistan who want nothing more than to harm others. These groups thrive in ungoverned spaces. They raise money, they recruit, they plan, they inspire attacks. We must maintain pressure on them.


KILEY: There is a degree of optimism being shown inevitably by the general's handing from one command to the other here. But the experience of 17 years they acknowledge means that the Taliban have to be brought in from the cold, they have to join the political process and that leaves ISIS so-called Daesh as the main focus, both the international community and ironically also from the Taliban.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our enemy is first ISIS and then government. A common enemy in ISIS does not make the Taliban friends with the Afghan government or the U.S. But it may be a rare platform for agreement in future talks."


KILEY: So we have there an opportunity perhaps for the international coalition and the Afghan government to continue their overtures towards the Taliban. If they were able to somehow sweep the Taliban into a peace process that would allow certainly from the international perspective even greater on the so-called Islamic state and Al Qaeda, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Well, let's hope that happens. And I did want to ask you how different we can expect things to be in Afghanistan with this change of command in the fight against ISIS and of course the Taliban.

KILEY: Well, general Miller is a man who has spent his almost his fighting life in delta forces, and other elements of the Special Forces. And we've been speaking to people on his staff and also in the Pentagon.

And the emphasis I think from American perspective will remain and probably increase tempo in terms of attacking the so-called Islamic state. Perhaps exploiting the fact that it is the Taliban too who want to rid Afghanistan of the Islamic state.

So I think we'll probably an increase in more Special Forces operations, greater involvement of tribal militias on the ground. And an increase focus even on top of what we have already seen in trying to rid Afghanistan of the Islamic state.

But ultimately too, of course, if the Taliban prevail here and they have been doing better than over previous years into fighting the Afghan government then there is a concern as one officer put it of the establishment of the terrorist super state. And that is also something that the international community is very anxious to avoid, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Sam Kiley bringing us to date on the situation there from Kabul in Afghanistan. I appreciate that.

Well, back in the United States. And Chinese billionaire Richard Liu was arrested in the U.S. State of Minnesota while on a business on Friday. He was taken into custody on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct but released the next day without charge.

Police reports show that Liu was released pending complaint. Now Lie is the CEO of Chinese tech giant His company released a statement saying Liu is being falsely accused and there's no substance to the claims against him.

Well, thousands of people in rain battered southern China awaiting for floodwaters to recede. Days of torrential rain pounded parts of China's Guangdong province affecting more than a million people. Emergency crews are working around the clock to rescue residents trapped in their homes.

Almost 130,000 people were force to flee their homes with some cities submerged under as much as two meters of flooding. The water has killed at least two people and caused more than $150 million in damages.

Well typhoon Jebi is bearing down on southern Japan and it's going to cause trouble for anyone in its part. Let's turn again to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri to bring us up to date on the situation there. Pedram?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Rosemary. Looking at a very serious storm as far as how strong it was and certainly Rene (Ph) is pretty cold at this hour as well.

When you take a look this region has been so battered in recent weeks. In fact, go back to the beginning of July, the 1st of July, we now have six storms, this would be number seven to make landfall across this region of Japan or at least impact areas of Japan.

And of course if you run the numbers that's about one every eight or so days so we have not much of a break between each and every single one of these storm.

And here comes Jebi losing some of its organizations. Some of its symmetry and the potency as well. Still though, sits there as a category three or a major hurricane equivalence system out there just a few hundred kilometers east of Okinawa.

The forecast is at least improving a little bit. We're seeing the storm weaken as it migrates farther to the north. In fact, over the next 16 or so hours and as it approaches land sometime early Tuesday morning, just east of Kochi there is a weekend to potentially just a category two system as it make landfall.

But unfortunately as we talked about the regions has been fully saturated, the 100 plus millimeters of rainfall on top of essentially a tropical system every single week since the beginning of July is really going to leave this region to be very flood prone over the next couple of days.

[03:25:04] And of course, we're still falling what's happening across the Caribbean as well. There is another system lined up across this region. This particular one poised to become a tropical storm Gordon over the next 24 so hours.

In fact, when you look at the tropical climatology for this time of year, the temp of September, so essentially a week from right now is when the peak season is for hurricane season across the Atlantic Ocean. And even though it's been a quite season, it is living up to its name as far as picking up intensity the next couple of weeks.

Again, Gordon the next one in line. And at this point, of course, holiday weekend across the United States. We know on Labor Day there this is going to cross the Florida Keys in a tropical storm. And look the strength it gradually potentially to a high end tropical storm with landfall possible sometime Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, Rosemary. Not far from New Orleans, Louisiana.

So we're going to follow this going into the middle of the week.

CHURCH: All right. Good to have you do that. I appreciate it, Pedram, to cover there.

Well, a hero's farewell for U.S. Senator John McCain. We will take a look at how McCain ended his journey. That's next.

Plus the U.S. Supreme Court could be transformed by this trump nominee. Why would the White House refuse to release 100,000 pages about him? We'll take a look at that when we come back.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. Good to have you with us.

So let's update you now on the top stories this hour.

A judge in Myanmar has sentenced two Reuters journalist to seven years in prison who were convicted of possession states secrets. The two were investigating the massacre of Muslim Rohingya when they were arrested. The president of Reuters calls it a sad day for Myanmar and the press everywhere.


A massive fire have engulfed Brazil's 200-year-old national museum in Rio.

Firefighters scrambled to put out the blaze. State media report there were at least 20 million artifacts in that building. Its feared entire collections have been lost forever. No word yet on what caused that fire.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition denies an air strike in Yemen last month that hit a school bus full of children. That is despite evidence to the contrary. The coalition said Saturday mistakes were made. But the spokesman told CNN the vehicle was a legitimate target and not a school bus.

The outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan is urging the Taliban to accept a ceasefire and begin peace talks. General Nicholson says it is time for the Taliban to stop killing fellow Afghans. His comments came Sunday during a change of command ceremony in Kabul.

Well, the U.S. has bid farewell to an American hero. But for Cindy McCain she was saying goodbye to her husband and partner of 38 years, Senator John McCain.

And these are pictures from Sunday's private burial ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. Overhead, four U.S. military fighter jets flew in formation before one peeled off symbolizing a fallen comrade.

Brian Todd takes a look at this final goodbye.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was one of the most powerful and emotional days among the five days of the collective national send off for Senator John McCain. Even though this day on Sunday, his final burial ceremony and the final ceremony at the Naval Academy chapel were supposed to be private, two of the images that we are left with were powerful images that the public was able to see.

And the first one was the images of throngs of people. Hundreds of them gathered in the streets of Annapolis in the streets leading up to the Naval Academy gates even though these people were not allowed to take part in the ceremony and get inside and see it they still lined up along the streets to pay respects to Senator John McCain.

Another very powerful image it was one for the entire world to see if they were watching this. And that was the fly over on Sunday afternoon just as the burial service at the cemetery was getting underway. A formation of FA-18 fighter jets flew overhead. It flew right over our live position and we can watch as one of them peeled away that of course symbolizing a lost comrade. So, again, very, very powerful images on a day that was a very private

ceremony for the McCain family and their close friends and yet, we the public were able to take part in this.

A lot of questions asked about why Senator McCain was being buried here on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy when his father and grandfather who were very two accomplished admirals in the U.S. Navy are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Well, according to Senator McCain himself and those who knew him, this was the place that really forged his character. He had an imperfect run of this, one of things here at the Naval Academy. He wasn't such a great student. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class. He piled up a lot of demerits.

And yet, this was the place that really forged Senator McCain's character, it really gave him the toughness that serve him so well in Vietnam and as a prisoner of war.

So this is the place where he said himself that he wanted to be buried next to his friend Admiral Chuck Larson.

He said at the end of his book "The Restless Wave," this is where he wanted to be buried this is kind of where it all began for him.

Brian Todd, CNN, Annapolis, Maryland.

CHURCH: President Donald Trump's ability to shift the ideological direction of the U.S. Supreme Court will have consequences which will last well after he is no longer president.

Last year, the Senate confirmed President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and now, President Trump could cement the conservative bench in the highest court in the land with his second nominee.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is considerable more conservative than the swing justice he's replacing, Anthony Kennedy. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Supreme Court could see its most significant ideological change in a dozen years.

His confirmation hearings begin on Tuesday but the battle over his nomination is already intensifying. The Trump administration is refusing to release more than 100,000 pages related to Kavanaugh that includes records of his crucial role under former President George W. Bush.

Our Boris Sanchez has more now from the White House.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The attorney in charge with reviewing some 660,000 pages worth of documents related to Brett Kavanaugh's time in the White House as a staff secretary for President George W. Bush has determined that about 100,000 pages should not be released in either lawmakers nor the general public because of what he claims was constitutional privilege. [03:35:10] That is angering Democrats and further angering them. The fact that another 148,000 pages worth of documents will be released to lawmakers but then lawmakers will not be able to even describe those to the general public.

Several Democrats spoken out against this declassification process, namely Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar. She's spoken on one of the Sunday morning talk show saying that this process has been anything but normal. Listen to this.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: This is not normal. You have a nominee with excellent credentials with his family behind him. You have the cameras there, you have the Senators questioning but this isn't normal. It's not normal because we are not able to see 100,000 documents that the archivist has just quit because administration has said we can't see them.


KLOBUCHAR: They exerted their executive power 148,000 documents that I've seen that you cannot see because it won't allow them us to make them public so I can't even tell you about them right now on the show.


SANCHEZ: The White House is pushing back on this criticism from Democrats. Deputy Secretary Raj Shah weighing on Twitter this weekend writing that the 440,000 or so executive branch documents related to Brett Kavanaugh's time at the White House that have been released for each clips the number of documents released for previous Supreme Court nominees.

The previous five, in fact, combined. You can bet that this conversation about documents and further about a number of hot button issues, including Kavanaugh's stance on Roe versus Wade on abortion will come up during his hearings which begin on Tuesday.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.

CHURCH: So, let's discuss this very consequential Supreme Court nomination with Freddy Gray. He is a deputy editor with the Spectator and joins us now live from London. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So his confirmation hearings begin Tuesday for President Trump's Supreme Court pick. How likely is it do you think that Brett Kavanaugh will ultimately be confirmed?

GRAY: I think it is pretty likely I think Republicans have to control the Senate just and therefore it is highly likely he could be confirmed. I think it's going to be very fractious, very dramatic hearing, these events make themselves -- make themselves very good it appeared to.

They tend to and he can be sure with so much at stake with this sense that a conservative establishment is being established at the Supreme Court. You can be sure that it will be very, very, very angry thoughts, I think nonetheless, he will get through it. I can't actually see how he won't.

CHURCH: Right. And of course the Trump administration is withholding 100,000 pages of Kavanaugh's records. Why they do that and how significant and unusual is that, what are they hiding in that documentation?

GRAY: That is a very good question. I mean, in the defense they have released a lot of documents but also there could be a national security reason for doing it. There could all be sorts of excuses but at the moment it looks like they are very worried about how the Democrats going to set about Justice Kavanaugh, and they are extremely worried that he will be undermined during the process.

So, therefore, they'll being defensive and being protective. And of course, this only raises (Inaudible) and raises attention behind on the issue.

CHURCH: And of course the big concern for most Democrats is that Brett Kavanaugh as a conservative will attempt to reverse some laws, including those that relate to abortion rights. How likely is that that he would do that, given what you know about his history and what other laws might be at risk?

GRAY: Well, I think he's talked about abortion or he has supposedly has said that abortion is settled laws, or perhaps he's not as conservative as some liberals fear.

I think it's worth pointing out that when you hear people talking about the sort of ideological nature the Supreme Court under conservatives. There's a lot of conservatives that think that they called over the last 50 years as being too liberals. So therefore, these issues are in the eye of the beholder.

And other issue that Kavanaugh might be changing on some of the Democrats are very worried about is his belief in whether he believes that the presidents can be protected by the Supreme Court. Now that would be very important with the Mueller inquiry coming up and that would be a real source of tension and fiery questions coming up I think in the next few days.

CHURCH: Yes. Of course, President Trump has selected Brett Kavanaugh because he feels he will stand up for the president and certainly stand for what the president represents and symbolizes on a number of different issues.

[03:39:56] But it is interesting that some analysts have suggested that for a lot of these picks even when they do come in as a very conservative, they do tend to soften their approach to various issues as they go along once confirmed, of course. How likely do you think we would see the same thing happened to Brett Kavanaugh? GRAY: This is why I'm perhaps not quite as excitable about the Supreme Court nomination as some people are. And that I think that ultimately, the law is has to be interpreted and justified. You can say that there is a conservative coup on the court or of the things like that. Actually really the law does justify itself. And it will not be some great overhauling of all the achievements of liberalism over the last 50 years.

CHURCH: Freddy Gray, thank you for your analysis and your perspective on this issue. We will of course watch what happens come Tuesday. Thank you so much.

GRAY: Thank you.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here, but still to come, many Catholic in the U.S. say they are tired of excuses from church leaders. Now they are speaking out about the sex abuse scandals in the middle of mass.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, many Catholic say they have had enough inaction from the church on the clergy sex abuse scandals. One man targeted his outrage at the archbishop of Washington at a mass on Sunday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to work close in our prayers and our loyalty to our Holy Father Pope Francis. Increasingly it's clear that he is the object of considerable animosity.



CHURCH: Cardinal Donald Wuerl is accused of covering up clergy misconduct when he was a bishop in Pennsylvania.

CNN's Rosa Flores has more now on the protest at Sunday's mass.

[03:45:00] ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just outside the church, I spoke to the man who screamed "shame on you" to Cardinal Wuerl, and he says that he screamed that out because he is frustrated because he is hoping that the church can be held accountable. And he's hoping that the church will be transparent.

But he wasn't the only one to send a loud message during that mass in Washington, D.C. There was another woman who sent a very loud message with her silence. She stood up, she crossed her arms and gave the cardinal her back.


MARY CHALLINOR, PARISHIONER: I think he should resign. He should understand that just because you didn't mean to do something doesn't mean that there weren't terrible consequences for lots of people. And I feel he should resign as cardinal.


FLORES: We reached out to the archdiocese and ask about this the protest and here's what they said in a statement. Quote, "Cardinal Wuerl has spoken extensively over the past two months, conveyed his profound sadness, apologies, and contrition and addresses every issue as it has arisen in a straightforward and transparent manner."

I was inside that church. I can tell you that the cardinal was received warmly. He also received applause. But it was not until the end of the mass when he started speaking about clerical sex abuse that emotions boiled over.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: Well, Pope Francis is also facing increased scrutiny about the church abuse scandals. A former top Vatican official accuses the pope and church leaders of weaving a, quote, "conspiracy of silence."

Here is senior Vatican analyst John Allen with the very latest.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: One week after Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the pope's former ambassador in the United States from 2011 and 2016 made a bombshell charge that he had informed Pope Francis of sex misconduct warnings against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013, and that the pope essentially ignored them for the next five years.

Vigano was back at it this week also suggesting that Pope Francis and his allies had lied about what they knew when Pope Francis met Kentucky County clerk Kim Davis in September 2015. Davis was the county clerk who had refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples after the Obergefell decision and became a symbol of opposition to gay marriage in the United States.

At a time, papal spokesperson suggested that the pope didn't know who Davis was, and that this was entirely Vigano's fault in his role as the ambassador. Vigano is now -- Vigano is now claiming he presented a memo to the pope in advance. He briefed his top officials so they knew full well who the pope was meeting.

To date, the Vatican has not issued comment on the second accusation from Vigano. There are some sources suggesting we may get some clarification from them perhaps later this week. But in the meantime, what seems clear, is that the contrante (Ph) that has been unleashed by the Archbishop Vigano are not going to go away any time soon.

From Rome, this is John Allen reporting for CNN.

CHURCH: it is interesting fund-raising strategy. Dancing to bring attention to human trafficking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN HAMMOND, PLANET PRANCER: While I'm dancing, I am dancing free. You know, I feel free. So why not take that and take that message out to the world.


CHURCH: But this London man is bringing his message to America. We will follow him next.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good day to you. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri watching what's happening here across the portions of the Caribbean as we do have a potential tropical cyclone in the works.

This is what is expected to become tropical storm Gordon over the next 24 or so hours. But this system right now impacting areas of the Bahamas and certainly impacting portions of Northern Cuba as well. And also bringing in heavy rainfall into the Florida Keys as it skirts right across the Florida Strait over the next few hours.

But we do know that this system is poised to enter the Gulf of Mexico. It is also poised to gradually strengthen and as it does it will become tropical storm Gordon. And landfall somewhere at this point. Looking at Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning across the coast of Louisiana, potentially even areas around the western Mississippi, so we'll watch that carefully here for a lot of rainfall to be in store across this region.

And just some guide across this region nd brings in again tremendous rainfall towards the middle portion of the week with the flood threat being very high across that region.

At this point for the Monday afternoon forecast looking at flooding also in place across portions of the Midwestern U.S. In Chicago scattered thunderstorm at 28 degrees. New York, Montreal, yet again another toasty one here for the month of September.

I promise you the month of October will likely not start this way but big time in warmth in place across the northern tier of the U.S. But you notice cooler air does eventually filter in as we approach this upcoming weekend.

CHURCH: A London man is taking his fight against modern day slavery to the streets of America. He's on the second leg of his journey to dance across the famous Route 66 highway through eight states. It's all to raise money for anti international. And he's sharing his journey with the CNN Freedom Project.

Cyril Vanier has the story.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: Wearing an eclectic mix of music, sporting a neon yellow head band and tutu. Ben Hammond is a sight to behold boogying along one of America's biggest roadways. With each hop and twist, the self-proclaimed planet prancer is raising funds for Anti- Slavery International, an organization fighting human trafficking around the world.


HAMMOND: The dancing I felt was a really good symbol of the freedom that I have, like when I'm dancing and I'm dancing free, you know, I feel free. So why not take that and take that message out to the world. And I thought why not take this message of freedom to the land of the free. So America it is.


VANIER: The teacher and lecturer from London began his journey in April starting in Santa Monica, California, he plans to dance all the way to New York. But working full time Hammond can only progress during summer holidays, making this a long-term endurance dancing feat.


HAMMOND: In all honesty, probably going to take me about four years to get from beginning to end. But I am committed to this and you know, I'm going to give it a go all I've got.


VANIER: So far he's moved from California, Arizona, and parts of New Mexico. Self-tracking his progress on his web site. He logs anywhere from 14 to 16 kilometers a day depending on terrain, all while battling the heat.

But for him and that the strenuous challenge is part of a much larger message.


HAMMOND: I could go out and do whatever I want to. I could dream big and I can realize those dreams. And so, in a sense, what I'm doing to trying to shine the light on those people that still in the 21st century don't have the freedom that you and I might have.


[03:54:54] VANIER: As he brands his along Route 66, pulling along supplies and a buggy he nicknamed Barbara, the enthusiastic Britt says his message has been surprisingly well received.


HAMMOND: I would not blame anyone if they cross the road, turn their car around, fled in the opposite direction if they saw a guy. And I do wear a tutu as I'm doing it to symbolize freedom and fun. It is a bit weird. So what makes it amazing is when people kind of process what I'm doing, and come and say hello, and wave and some friends give a gig as well, I think is amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: Hammond finished the first leg of his challenge this week,

after covering more than 1200 kilometers. But rest assured, you can see the planet prancer moving and grooving again soon when he returns to Route 66 next summer.

Cyril Vanier, CNN.

CHURCH: Good on him. And Ben is closing in on his goal of raising over $8,000 for Anti-Slavery International. A spokesman for the organization said of "Hammond's mission with an estimated 40 million of people in slavery across the world, we urgently need to build a modern abolition movement that will end it for good. With supporters like Ben we are confident that we will succeed sooner rather than later."

Well, James Bono has found what he is looking for. The U2 lead singer says he has seen a doctor and will be back to full voice after he had to cut short at Saturday show in Berlin.

Bono says the doctor ruled out anything serious, which is great. U2 will return to Berlin in November. The band has said to perform in Cologne, Germany on Tuesday. Word has it that it was the smoke from cigarette. So keep that down to a minimum.

Thanks so much for your company at this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues next with our Max Foster in London. Have yourself a great day.