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Woodward Book Describes White House As Crazy Town; Koreas Prepare For Next Summit; Five Dead In Clashes Over Poor Basic Services In Iraq's South; White House Warns Syria; France Bans Smartphones In Some Schools. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired September 5, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Incompetent, impulsive and demeaning that's what White House insiders think of the president according to a new book by a legendary journalist.
Growing fears of mass civilian casualties as Syria's last rebel stronghold comes under fire. And on Capitol Hill, a chaotic first day of confirmation hearings for the president's Supreme Court pick.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.
There are growing fears of a humanitarian disaster in Syria's northwestern corner. Russian and Syrians jets reportedly bombarded the western edge of Idlib province Tuesday ending a lull of several weeks.
A government offensive to retake the last major rebel-held enclave appears to be imminent. The U.S. is warning Syria to avoid any chemical attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: If they want to continue to go the route of taking over Syria, they can do that, but they cannot do it with chemical weapons. They can't do it assaulting their people and we're not going to fall for it.
If there are chemical weapons that are used, we know exactly who is going to use them. I think you saw the president get out in front of it yesterday and say don't make us have to respond. Because he's made it very clear if chemical weapons are used, the United States will respond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Meantime, an Israeli military official says the country has struck Syria 200 times in the past 18 months and the primary target was the Iranian Quds Force.
For more on this, Oren Liebermann joins us from El'ad in Israel, and Jomana Karadsheh from Istanbul, Turkey. Jomana, let's start with you and just get from you what is happening on the ground in Idlib and what the goal is here and also reaction to the fact that there is a line drawn in the sand when it comes to chemical weapons.
But the conventional weapons cause as much if not more damage and heartache and tragedy as chemical weapons. So talk to us about response to what the United States is saying about that.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Rosemary. This is the kind of statement that really infuriates so many Syrians when you talk to them and they hear that, you know, that red line for the international community seems to be chemical weapons and they say what about conventional weapons.
As you mentioned, they kill more and they have killed more Syrians than chemical weapons. You know, if you look at the current situation in Idlib, for example, for weeks now there have attacks taking place, there have been barrel bomb attacks, there have been civilian casualties.
Just on Tuesday, according to opposition activists and according to rescue groups on the ground. They say there have been more than two dozen air strikes that targeted western Idlib and civilian casualties as many as 18 people killed, most of them women and children.
They say in air strikes, that they blame on the Russians. And they say this is a sign of what is to come. And you know, the timing of these air strikes taking place right after those warnings from President Trump in his tweet and other comments from U.S. officials just show that this operation is imminent right now, as has been the indication over the past few days whether it is the comments coming from Russian officials from the Iranian officials saying that Idlib must be cleared as what they describe as the terrorists there.
We've seen reports coming from U.S. officials about military movements whether it's armed helicopters that have been moved by the regimes. In the past few weeks you've got the Russians are moving in the Mediterranean, too.
So it does seem at this point that the operation that begin at any point. We heard the warnings from the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies too saying that this could be a blood bath. It could lead to a massacre.
You are talking about an estimate of more than three million civilians who are crammed into this part of Syria. The last rebel-held province, they have nowhere else to run to right now.
And when you hear the comments from the Russians and the Iranians and the Syrian regime saying they are going after terrorists, yes, there are estimates of a few thousand hard core Jihadists who are amongst the rebel groups in Idlib province, but the majority of the people there are civilians.
So the fear is any operation going after what is being described as terrorists is only going to lead to a devastating humanitarian catastrophe and a blood bath, Rosemary.
[03:05:02] CHURCH: And Oren Liebermann, let's go to you in El'ad in Israel. Because we heard from the Israeli military officials saying that Israel has hit in Syria 200 times in the last 18 months.
Talk to us about what sort of progress Israel said it has made in Syria while at the same time we are hearing this from the United States that there is this line in the sand when it comes to chemical weapons. They are not doing anything unless that happens.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the U.S. red line is something for the Syrians and the Russians that has nothing to do with Israel. Israel's comment it's interesting that this comment was even ever made because Israel normally never acknowledge its operations, Israeli military operations over international borders.
So it used to be that Israel would always say no comment when there is a report of an Israeli strike in Syria. In fact, there was one last night, Syrian state media saying they intercepted Israeli rockets near Hama in western Syria. Israel not surprisingly, a no comment.
So the idea that Israel has acknowledge striking Syria 200 times is in itself quite new. And that Israel is acknowledging its operations in Syria. But it's also important to understand the Israeli comments.
Israel is not saying it struck Syria on 200 different occasions, that would be over 18 months of strike every third day two or three strikes a week. Instead, Israel is essentially it hit 200 different targets often multiple targets in one evening.
The Israeli military saying most of those targets were Iranian Quds Force. So Israel has drawn a red line saying it will not allow Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria. And that's what the Israeli military official says most of these targets were, whether it's weapons depos, control and command centers.
Israel acknowledged striking an Iranian drone operations based at the T-4 military base not far from Damascus. So, Israel essential acknowledging these air strikes that has normally never commented on.
And we see that they are more reports just as we said last night, of Israel operating in Syria. So Israel has said whether it continues to have freedom of action in Syria when it comes to Israel's red lines with what's happening in Syria.
CHURCH: All right. Our Oren Liebermann joining s there from El'ad in Israel, and Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, Turkey. Many thanks to both of you.
Well, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis says Donald Trump has the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. Other advisers worry the president is a danger to national security, that is according to a new book from veteran journalist Bob Woodward.
White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly reportedly calls his boss an idiot and unhinged. Kelly has also quoted to saying it's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We are in crazy town. This is the worst job I've ever had. All that from Kelly.
The book describes the president as seen as so dangerous by one senior staffer he swiped to a document off his desk, in his words, to protect the country.
CNN's Jim Acosta has more.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Bob.
BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: President Trump, how are you?
(END VOICE CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Before the release on the Trump White House entitled "Fear", legendary reporter Bob Woodward managed to finally get the president on the phone. Mr. Trump's assessment of the Woodward book, not good.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It sounds like this is going to be a bad one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: There are devastating episodes throughout the book. Woodward explains how the president's former lawyer John Dowd attempted to do a mock interview with Mr. Trump to demonstrate how he could perjure himself if he sits down with special counsel Robert Mueller.
According to Woodward, Dowd explains the stakes for the president in stark terms. Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jump suit. Woodward says, Dowd, who would later resign called Mr. Trump a liar.
The author also describes how former economic adviser Gary Cohn once removed a document from the president's desk to prevent Mr. Trump from exiting a trade agreement with South Korea.
Cohn said "I stole it off of his desk. I wouldn't let him see it. He is never going to see that document. Got to protect the country."
One of a number of actions Woodward describes as no less than it's been a stray coup d'etat. Woodward says other top officials were equally harsh when Chief of Staff John Kelly said "he's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We are in crazy town. This is the worst job I've ever had."
The White House released a statement from Kelly saying he never called the president an idiot. But then according to Woodward there's Defense Secretary James Mattis who said the president has the understanding of a fifth or sixth greater.
The former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus who said the presidential bedroom is a devil's workshop. Woodward also offers nasty comments from the president who says Priebus is like a little rat who just scurries around. And refers to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as mentally retarded and a dumb southerner. According to Woodward once told Giuliani, "Rudy, you're a baby. I've
never seen a worse defense be in my life. They took your diaper off right there. You are like a little baby that needed to be changed. When are you going to be a man?"
Woodward also revisits the president's handling of the deadly riots in Charlottesville, saying Mr. Trump's regret he gave at the White House. That was when the president actually condemned the white supremacists in Charlottesville, but Mr. Trump said that speech was the biggest mistake I've made.
[03:10:04] The next day the president went back to blaming both sides for the violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. And you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Woodward said the president complained that he wasn't asked for an interview. But in audio released by the Washington Post Woodward reminds the president he made multiple requests.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
TRUMP: Nobody told me about it and I would have love to spoken to you.
WOODWARD: Senator Graham said he talked to you about talking to me. Now is that not true?
TRUMP: Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly on one meeting, you know, that is true.
(END VOICE CLIP)
ACOSTA: President Trump sat down with a conservative Daily Caller web site to call the Woodward book a bad book and to accuse the author of credibility problems.
The president's former outside lawyer John Dowd pushed back on parts of the Woodward book, saying, quote, "There was no so-called practice session of a mock interview at the special counsel's office," adding he did not refer to the president as a liar and did not say that he would end up in an orange jump suit.
Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: Joining me now, former Los Angeles city councilwoman, Wendy Greuel, and research fellow, Lanhee Chen. Good to have you both with us.
WENDY GREUEL, FORMER L.A. CITY COUNCILWOMAN: Good to be here. LANHEE CHEN, RESEARCH FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Thank you.
CHURCH: So President Trump called Bob Woodward's book a con and a fraud. Sarah Sanders said these are former disgruntled employees. But we are talking about Defense Secretary Mattis comparing the president to a 6th grader. Chief of Staff John Kelly calling the president an idiot and unhinged.
Lanhee Chen, Kelly are Mattis are not former disgruntled employees, they are in the current administration. But they are and others are now vehemently denying they said any of this. Do you believe their denials or the work of an award-winning investigative journalist who has reported for The Washington Post since 1971?
CHEN: Well, look, I mean, Bob Woodward clearly is a very reputable journalist, he is and somebody who reported on not just this presidency by the way. He has written on a number of different presidencies and in fact, quite critically of other presidents, Democrats and Republicans.
The issue is this is pretty classic in terms of how the president and how the White House have chosen to deal with these kind of controversies. Whether it was the book by Michael Wolff, "Fire and Fury," the episode involving Omarosa, the former White House aide, or this book, not to equate the three.
But the White House has essentially said, look, we're going to respond in exactly the same way which is we are not going to give an inch. We are going to say all of this is fake, all of it is made up and we're going to leave it to the public to decide whether they believe us or them. And that strategy so far for this president at least has worked with his base. We'll see if it works for others as well.
CHURCH: Yes, it has worked so far. Wendy Greuel, Bob Woodward says he stands by his book, but he has to deal with an onslaught of accusations that it's a fraud, in the wake of all of these denials (TECHNICAL PROBLEM).
[03:15:01] CHEN: -- well, (AUDIO GAP) he figured if he was interviewed he might contradict himself or he might say something which was inconsistent with something he said in the past or perhaps something that actually happened or perhaps it would be inconsistent with the accounts given by those interviewed by Woodward for the book.
So, there's a number of many different reasons why he may not want to speak with Woodward, but the reality is when he concedes that Woodward has been fair to him in the past, that creates a problem for the president here. For him to just say look, this is some left wing hatchet job, very difficult to do when you just conceded that Bob Woodward has been fair to you in the past.
CHURCH: Yes. Very contradictory indeed. And Wendy, here's what Republican Susan Collins and Bob Corker had to say about Mr. Trump, apparently calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions mentally retarded and a dumb southerner. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I'm appalled by the comments. The president continuing public humiliation of the attorney general is deeply inappropriate.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: He doesn't like his service, he can look him in the eye and terminate him. So, you know, whining is pretty unbecoming of a 13-year-old, but very unbecoming of a 71 or 72-year- old president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now Wendy, late Tuesday President Trump denied he made those comments about Sessions in Woodward's book, saying he made this up to divide. So despite the denial, how will Mr. Trump's attack on the attorney general likely play to his base, particularly his reference to Sessions being a dumb southerner. Will they believe it or will they even care?
GREUEL: Well, I think anyone who has watched the president's tweets in the last several months about Jeff Sessions would not be surprised that he said this. Because he has been critical of him. He has used, you know, words to describe him that diminish Sessions.
And so I think that's what you are also hearing from the Republicans. They've heard it, they've had enough and said stop. Stop this behavior of where you are acting like a 13-year-old in going after Jeff Sessions in making some of these comments.
It's just wrong, but as said, you know, if he has a problem with Sessions, then he should let him go. But for many people there are thinking wow, even though we don't like Jeff Sessions, we want him to stay here. The fear factor who could be next if it isn't Jeff Sessions?
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. And Lanhee, just to go back to you and just going back across all of the content of Bob Woodward's book, because this will be a discussion in conversation probably for the next week and weeks ahead, and certainly going into the midterms.
And I do want to just bring up an article. NBC's Chuck Todd has been talking about the fact that this is a new era. At this time for journalists, for many, many years of course journalist, the media has come under attack. And we put up with it and we sit back and we think our work should stand alone.
And this is Chuck Todd who is basically saying now we can't be so naive. We have to accept that we have to start standing up and saying yes, this is true. These are the facts. This is what this story is telling you.
Because there are so many people in Middle America that will listen to Donald Trump and to all these others who have denied what they have apparently said. And they will believe that because that's what they hear. They are not hearing from Bob Woodward and others. CHEN: Right. And this is the challenge we have in America now. Is
that we have a tremendously polarized political society and people who were disinclined to believe the media are going to continue to be disinclined and the president will stoke that resentment, that theory even more.
And on the other side people who would side with the media otherwise are just as likely to consume that information as they were before.
So, I think this polarization is something that we are seeing in spades. And unfortunately here in the United States it's made it much more difficult to find common ground and consensus.
CHURCH: Wendy Greuel and Lanhee Chen, thanks to both of you for joining this political panel.
CHEN: Thank you.
CHURCH: A U.S. Senate Republican said a mob rule took over the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh quickly descended into chaos. We will have all the dramatic details.
And laying the groundwork for peace and denuclearization, how the two Koreas are preparing for their leader's next summit. We'll have a live report. Do stay with us.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Well, public frustration is growing in Iraq as politicians struggle to form a new government after inconclusive parliamentary elections in May. Many in the oil rich south are frustrated with poor basic services, water pollution, and unemployment.
Five people were killed on Tuesday during the latest clashes between protesters and security forces in Basra. Prime Minister Haider al- Abadi says his cabinet will investigate the unrest in Iraq's second biggest city. Many Iraqis are still angry with the political lit which is widely seen as corrupt.
Well, a high level South Korean delegation is in North Korea to discuss plans for their next summit. The two sides are expected to discuss a path towards peace and denuclearization. It comes as relations between the U.S. and North Korea continue to sour.
So let's turn to our Paula Hancocks. She joins us now live from Seoul in South Korea with more on this. So Paula, what all might be achieved at this upcoming summit and how far might it go to denuclearizing North Korea?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we know that the envoy from South Korea traveling to North Korea today is hand delivering a letter from the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
It's not clear at this point if Chung Yong will actually be able to meet with Kim Jong-un, but it's basically laying the ground work for the summit and it's a summit that was going to be the third time that Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un were going to meet. It was intended to push the inter-Korean relationship forward.
We know that they would be discussing a declaration to end the Korean War. It was only signed by an armistice back in 1953. This is something that North Korea really wants.
But now of course you have the Washington-Pyongyang relationship souring. So this meeting, summit, I should say between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un has taken on new meaning. It's almost as though the South Korean president has to slip back into his role as mediator and try and bring those two sides back together again.
That's certainly what we are hearing here in Seoul. We know, though, that Moon Jae-in spoke with the U.S. President Donald Trump last night, Tuesday evening local time. The conversation that lasted 50 minutes. And from the read out from Seoul they were certainly trying to show as though the U.S. and South Korea is on the same page.
He was even flattering the U.S. president saying it's his decisiveness that has brought the U.S. and North Korea and South Korea to this point. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Certainly a delicate balancing act, isn't for the president of South Korea and at the same time, from North Korea's perspective, how much of this is about pushing the United States out of the picture and working with its southern neighbor.
[03:24:59] HANCOCKS: What we've also heard today, Rosemary, from the ministry of foreign affairs in North Korea posted on their web site was a statement saying that they are calling for the declaration of the end of the Korean War. They are calling on the United States to acknowledge that and to agree that.
They already have an agreement from the South Korean side. Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un agreed to that at their summit in Panmunjom back in April. They said that they wanted to do it within this year.
So for North and South Korea that is really a priority. It's not a priority for the United States. The United States wants to see denuclearization of North Korea before it agrees to any concessions. We've consistently heard that from Washington that they won't be lifting sanctions that they won't be giving any concessions until North Korea shows that it is denuclearizing.
So certainly what we have at this point is really a standoff between Pyongyang and Washington. Both are very set in their ways, both know exactly what they want to be able to move this process forward that they are very different demands from both sides. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Paula Hancocks joining us live from Seoul in South Korea.
Amazon reached the marks on Tuesday briefly becoming America's second trillion-dollar company. Apple was the first. At their peak Tuesday, Amazon shares traded just over $2050 before dropping at the end of the session. The only retailer reached the trillion-dollar milestone after 21 years as a public company, while Apple took nearly 38 years to get there.
Amazon stock is up more than 74 percent this year to date. Well, to put Amazon's trillion-dollar valuation in the context the company is now worth almost as much as the entire economy of Australia, and more than that of the Netherlands.
Amazon is worth slightly less than U.S. outstanding debt to china and a bit more than global steel industry each year. Quite extraordinary.
Well, the U.S. Senate Democrats has called him the Forrest Gump of Republican politics, but Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is defending his record in a hearing where partisan politics were on full display.
And later this hour, why Smartphones and other technical devices are banned in some French schools. We are back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you now on our top stories.
A new book describes the White House as crazy town with aides fearful Donald Trump is a danger to national security. Veteran journalist Bob Woodward spoke to dozens of sources in the president's inner circle.
[03:30:01] The president suggest parts of the book could have just been made up.
South Korea has sent a special envoy to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un about the country's next summit. It is set for later this month and will be the third meeting this year between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae in. Their main focus will be finding a path towards peace and denuclearization.
Five people were killed in southern Iraq during the latest clashes between protesters and security forces, many in the oil rich region are demanding better basic services and more employment opportunities. Iraq is struggling to form a government after inconclusive elections in May.
It is seen as a final showdown in Syria's horrific seven years civil war. Activist say Russian and Syrian planes hit Idlib province, Tuesday, ahead of a wildly expected government offensive on the last major rebel stronghold. And now the White House is drawing the lines saying, if President Bashar Al Assad, chooses to again use chemical weapons, United States and its allies will respond quickly and appropriately.
While the U.S. is strengthening possible action in Syria, Israel said it has been taking action for a while now. An IDF official tells CNN Israel has struck Syria about 200 times over the past year and a half. The main target has been Iran's lead force and its infrastructure that includes the t-4 air base northeast of Damascus that Iran reportedly uses as a command center. Iranian forces have been backing Syria's government, but Israel said there are red lines Iran should not cross. For more on this, CNN military analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joins us now. Always good to see you, sir.
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good evening.
CHURCH: Now, the White House again drawing a line in the sand. How likely is it that Syria's Bashar Al Assad will go ahead and use chemical weapons on his people given how the U.S. has responded in the past?
FRANCONA: One would hope that he wouldn't. And Rosemary, there is no need for him to use chemical weapons. In militarily, it makes no sense. He knows it will draw a reaction from the United States and France. They already said that. If you look at the military situation on the ground with the Russian air support with the Syrian air force and virtually having Idlib surrounded, there is no need to use chemical weapons. They have the firepower to defeat everybody that is in that -- all the fighters that is in that area. So, I think he would be foolish to use it. But in the past, that is not always been the deterrent. So, if he does use them, I think you can expect a reaction.
CHURCH: Why has he used them in the past? What was the point?
FRANCONA: Well, his military thinking is the Syrian military has written about this. The say what -- they used the chemical weapons -- there is theory is that it saps the resistance. It demoralizes the resistance and people tend to give up and it also allows the killing of people that are hiding in basements and the gasses are heavier than air and they get down into bunkers and basements.
CHURCH: It is interesting that the United States and its allies draw a line in the sand when it comes to these chemical weapons, but the other weaponry used on people is just as horrifying. The outcome is just as terrifying and tragic. So, why is it that these chemical weapons draw the ire of the U.S. and its allies and yet what is happening in Idlib now goes on and people there are not protected in any way?
FRANCONA: Exactly. This is a good question and this is a question that everybody has been grappling with for years. Not just in this war, but in all wars. It's OK to kill people with dynamite and barrel bombs and artillery and rockets and missiles, but you cross that line to use chemical weapons, although the effect is basically the same, somehow it is regarded as an inhumane weapon or random weapon not controllable.
So there is this mystique of using chemical weapons that draws the ire of the rest of the world. The point is and you made it quite well, what's the difference whether you use chemicals or high explosives? Dead is dead.
CHURCH: And so basically from the military point of view, what you see happening in Idlib now, Syria will move in as the last rebel stronghold there. Then what, what happens? FRANCONA: Well, I don't think it's any question what's going to
happen in Idlib. The government will reassert control over there. They got the firepower, they got the support of the Russians and Iranians. So, in time, they will control Idlib province.
[03:35:00] Then the question is what happens to Syria? Then we get into the political realm. What do we do with the occupied area where the Turks are up in the northwest? How do we address the Kurdish situation? The Kurdish controls almost the entire area on the north and the east of the Euphrates River, a large spa of northern Syria. Are the Kurds going to be integrated into somehow into the Syrian forces or is the Syrian government going offer them some sort of timing? These are all questions that happen to be work out. We know what the Syrians want. They want control of everything. We know the Kurds don't. And the Kurds have us supporting them and then enter the Turks who have a different take on what should happen in northern Syria. So, we are in for a long political battle after the fighting is done.
CHURCH: And before you go, I do want to get your reaction to Bob Woodward's book where President Trump apparently said this to Defense Secretary Mattis about Syria's President Assad after he uses chemical weapons on his people. Let's f-ing kill him. Let's go in and let us kill the f-ing lot of them. As a military man, hearing that from the President of the United States, what's your response?
FRANCONA: Well, I don't have any problem with targeting the leader of an enemy country. We are not technically at war with the Syrians so I think it would be difficult legally for us to go and kill Bashar Al Assad. So, I think he was probably in a fit of anger, if he said it. Now if you look at what Secretary Mattis said, he disavows any of that. So, I really don't know what happened in the White House.
CHURCH: Right. Everyone is denying everything at Bob Woodward's book at this stage. Rick Francona, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
FRANCONA: Good to be with you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, an intense showdown on the first day of confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Democrats are portraying him as partisan, but Kavanaugh insist he is a neutral Judge and does not decide cases on the basis of personal or policy preferences. Senate Democrats tried to delay the hearing accusing the White House and Republicans of hiding key records about Kavanaugh. CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider has more.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Within seconds of the start of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, the discourse evolved in to dissent.
SEN KAMALA HARRIS, (D) CALIFORNIA: We cannot possibly move forward, Mr. Chairman. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I extend a very warm welcome to Judge Kavanaugh.
HARRIS: We have not been given an opportunity.
SEN CORY BOOKER, NEW JERSEY: We are rushing through this process in a way that is unnecessary.
SCHNEIDER: Democrats taking issue with a document dump overnight of 42,000 pages from Kavanaugh's days in President George W. Bush's White House. Chairman Chuck Grassley, saying his staff reviewed every page by late Monday night.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The point is that no one could prepare and review 42,000 documents in one evening. We know that. No matter how much coffee you drink.
SCHNEIDER: Another 100,000 pages from the same time period have also been held back. The Trump administration said they are likely protected by constitutional privilege, Democrats though say it's suspicious.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D), ILLINOIS: Judge Kavanaugh, America needs to see those documents.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D), CONNECTICUT: We have been denied real access to the documents we need to advise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Regular order is called.
BLUMENTHAL: That are turns this hearing into a charade and a mockery of our norms. Mr. Chairman, I therefor move to adjourn this hearing.
SCHNEIDER: CNN has learned the show of forces was orchestrated during the weekend conference call led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, even though Democrats they don't have the votes to block Kavanaugh's nomination alone. Many of the obstructing Senators are possibly Presidential hopefuls for 2020. The deep partisan divisions though extend beyond documents. Brett Kavanaugh's nomination and the conservative tilt he would likely bring to the Supreme Court had unleashed anger that spilled into the hearing room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to have this loud mouth removed. We shouldn't have to put up with this kind of stuff.
SCHNEIDER: Republicans rallied behind Kavanaugh, calling Democrats sore losers.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: I believe this fight is nothing more than and nothing less than an attempt by our Democratic colleagues to relitigate the 2016 Presidential election.
SCHNEIDER: On Wednesday is when the real questioning begins. Judge Brett Kavanaugh will face questioning on his positions, although really he has already indicated how he will answer when he said on Tuesday, a goods judge must be a neutral arbiter who favors no person or policy. That is of course, a position he will be pressed on by Democrats. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is on his way to Pakistan to meet with the new Prime Minister. But the visit comes amid strained relations between both nations. And a new law in France is forcing some kids to leave their cell phones at home when they are in school.
[03:40:04] A good idea or too much government intervention? We will take a look.
CHURCH: Two Reuters journalists sentenced to seven years of hard labor in Myanmar will appeal their sentences. Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone where sentenced on Monday for breaking a state secrets law while investigating an alleged massacre of members of the Rohingya ethnic minority. They claimed they were framed. The U.N. describe the situation in Myanmar as one of the world's worst humanitarian human rights crisis. The journalist case has been widely seen as a test of press freedoms in Myanmar and their wives are outraged by the judge's decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): He is innocent, I feel this was totally unfair that he was sentenced to seven years. I didn't expect that he would get that much. He is a good husband to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): After yesterday's verdict, I feel like my hope has been destroyed, I feel weak and hopeless. Actually they didn't do anything wrong. They are just two youth that never had a black mark against them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The journalists have been in custody since December. The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, arrives in Pakistan soon for meetings with the leaders of a newly elected government in Islamabad. Now this will be the first high level meeting between both countries since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office last month. Relations between both sides had been rocky and the latest blow may have come when the U.S. suspended $300 million in military aid to Pakistan for the perceived failure to crack down on Taliban militants. CNN producer Sophia Saifi joins us now from Islamabad, Pakistan with more on this. Sophia, what is expected to come out of this meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and the newly elected Pakistan government?
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, there is not much of a positive atmosphere here in Pakistan among many of the analysts I have spoken to.
[03:45:00] I mean, you did have President Trump criticizing Pakistan quite aggressively and while that was a previous government, the new Prime Minister Imran Khan has said in his initial speech to the country that he is looking to improve ties with the United States. He used to be aggressively critical of the U.S. before but that has changed now.
Secretary of State Pompeo is coming with the General Dunford. They are expected to meet (inaudible) the Foreign Minister of the country, the newly appointed Foreign Minister who has with the senior statesmen who has met this individual before and previous capacities. At the same time, the Secretary of State is also going to be meeting the general (inaudible) who is the Chief of Army Staff and has been the chief of army staff for over a year now.
So, even though there is a new government, there is an economic crisis facing the country. There has been sort of fallout even before the Secretary of State has arrived in Pakistan with regards to a read out regarding a conversation between him and the Prime Minister Khan with regards to Pakistan dealing with regards to terrorism, the United States has aggressively criticized Pakistan for you know, assisting the network and the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan to Pakistan. Pakistan also said that this $300 million in aid is not aid, but it is the coalition support fund and this money that is actually owed to Pakistan.
These are conversations that we have seen with previous governments. So it remains to be seen whether that, you know, fresh button is going to be pressed again for a restart or whether we will see more of the same in these talks that will happen today.
CHURCH: Certainly, we will be watching very closely. I know you will, Sophia Saifi, thank you so much. Joining us live from Islamabad in Pakistan.
Well, tropical storm Gordon has made land fall along the U.S. Gulf coast. Residents in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi were cautioned about a wall of water that could inundates low line coastal areas. One deaths is reported in Florida. A tree fell on a mobile home, killing a child. Gordon is expected to lose steam as it moves inland, but it is heavy rains remain a threat. So let us turn to our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, who join us now from the International Weather Center with the very latest on this storm. So, Pedram, it will lose steam, but what happens until that happens.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, we have got a lot of wet weather ahead of us here in the next couple of days and areas unfortunately Rosemary that have already been really wet over the past several weeks. You look at what's happening with these system. Really the best case scenario of a tropical system across the Gulf of Mexico. Because we have conducive conditions for rapid development with calm winds and warm water temperatures that was going over and very little time that it had to work with that.
So, fortunately this did not get up to hurricane strength, but in fact it got up to a very strong tropical storm when it made landfall on Tuesday, late Tuesday night there on the border of Mississippi and Alabama. We are looking at winds at the system that are sitting 110 or so kilometers per hour, sitting just shy of what would be hurricane strength. Gusts still are being felt that are hurricane strength, pretty gusty winds too across a place such as gulf shores and the areas of the Florida panhandle as well.
As we go entry this afternoon, we can see the winds begin to calm down, but also some sunny skies might come out of the afternoon hours across the regions where the storm system made landfall. But the wet weather, that is the concern moving up towards the north. We will touch on that here, because we do have upwards of about 12 million people in this region from the south all the way out there towards the Midwest that are underneath flood watches and flood warnings. The system kind of exit in this region, the concern become not the south, but actually the mid-western United States. Because they have seen tremendous rainfall in recent days and what is left of Gordon over the next two to three days is going to eventually end up in this region in fact in Kansas City. The cities of St. Louis and Indianapolis and even Chicago where some heavy rainfall is expected.
And when you look at how things have played out, for the last five days across this region, we have seen generally say, four to six inches or 100 to 150 millimeters of rainfall, pretty widespread. This is just from storms that had passed this region and none of them of course has been tropical. But what is headed in our direction the next couple of days is all tropical and when you take a look at the steering environment, massive area of high pressure to the east. What is left of Gordon eventually kind of riding around that region, it ends up directly in this path where we saw all that heavy rainfall in recent days.
So, that is a concern and in fact that area to the north may need more rainfall and how things have played out down towards the south. It comes a big story for friends across that region. I want to quickly leave you with what has happen in places such Osaka Japan where we are seeing damage from, what is now the strongest typhoon to make landfall in mainland Japan, since the early 1990s. That system itself is beginning to rain itself out over portions of eastern China on to parts of Russia.
[03:50:12] Look what's happening, Rosemary, just south of that region, south of Okinawa. Another area of disturbed weather and yes, it has tropical characteristics. Models right now are beginning to break this down and we think we want to hail a little further towards the north. So, another system headed in that direction in really a pattern that has been hard to shake off for the last couple of months for our friends in Japan.
CHURCH: Absolutely. A lot of extreme weather situations for you to keep an eye on there. Pedram, many thanks.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
CHURCH: French children will now have to leave their smart phones at home or turned off when they are at school. The new ban on phones and other smart devices is intended to improve focus and prevent online bullying. Our Lynda Kinkade has that report. (BEGIN VIDEO)
LYNDA KINKADE, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: As a new school year starts in France this week, some student may find themselves having withdrawals or as the education minister calls it, a digital detox.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): The primary role is to protect children and teenagers. It is a fundamental role for education and so this law permits that.
KINKADE: Passed in late July, a nationwide ban on cell phones is now in effect in primary and middle schools across the country. Mobile devices can no longer be used at any point during the school day. It is meant to combat bullying and end classroom distraction. A constructive mandate some say may be difficult to enforce.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think, it's a good thing. It's a good thing that will be very difficult and very hard, because it's a new way of life using mobiles all the time.
KINKADE: It's a campaign promise that President Emmanuel Macron visited students on the first day of school. The latest move in a country that has led the way in digital health. Last year France introduced a right to disconnect law, banning businesses from requiring employees to respond to e-mails after work hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): This is an opportunity for us to send a message to elementary schools, middle schools and to some degree French society on how to develop a relationship with digital media.
KINKADE: More than 90 percent of French children over 12 have mobile phones. That is according to a 2016 report by French telecom's regulator ARCEP. A significant jump compared to a decade ago. The length of time spent on mobile phones is only increased overtime in the U.S. and Europe. A 2015 report found teens in the U.S. spend an average of nine hours a day. But whether the technology is in fact addictive has been up for debate and some argue that prohibiting technology all together during the school day is excessive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's pretty stupid. Because, I mean, it's not going to be very useful. I think kids are still going to use their phones anyway, even if it's banned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are not going to listen. And maybe they are going to hide it in their pockets and play in the toilets and cheat.
KINKADE: One school showed that students in English schools where cell phone use is banned are higher performers. France is about to find out if that rings true for each students. Linda Kinkade, CNN.
CHURCH: My kids would not like that. Well, coming up here on "CNN Newsroom," there is no place like home for Dorothy's Ruby red slippers. We'll explain. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[03:55:00] CHURCH: They may just be the most famous shoes in the world. The red ones Dorothy whore in the Wizard of Oz, of course and they were stolen more than a decade ago and now they have been found. Was the wicked witch of the west involved? Let's take a look. CNN's Jeannie Moos has that?
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From Dorothy's feet to FBI evidence, the ruby red slippers stolen 13 years ago have been recovered. 13 years of police asking --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ruby slippers, what have you done with them.
MOOS: We still don't know who done it, broke in the Judy Garland Museum, in Grand Rapids Minnesota and smashed a display case. Leaving one tiny thing behind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a single sequence off the shoe.
MOOS: The author of the movie Slippers of Oz said the stolen shoes are --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The holy grail of all Hollywood memorabilia.
MOOS: OK, there are at least for pairs of slippers used in the Wizard of Oz. These for instance are at the Smithsonian. The yellow brick road was a dead end for investigators despite loads of tips.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything from their nailed to a wall in a roadside diner in Missouri to, I was with my boyfriend when he threw it into a water field pit.
MOOS: Divers and even searched in vain for the slippers. Last summer, authorities finally got a credible tip. They say someone tried to extort the shoe's owner. The slippers where finally recovered this summer in a sting operation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tap your heels together three times.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no place like home.
MOOS: But where is home for the long lost now found ruby red slippers? An insurance company owns the shoes worth $2-5 million. But they remain in FBI custody as evidence. They are actually a mismatched pair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The right shoe of the stolen pair actually matches the left shoe at the Smithsonian.
MOOS: And right shoe with the Smithsonian matches the left of the stolen pair. Authorities have identified multiple suspects and still asking for the public's help to nab the slipper thieves who have given them the slip all these years. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll get you, my pretty.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no place like home.
MOOS: New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no place like home indeed.
CHURCH: There is no place like home indeed. Thanks so much for your company. I'm rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter @rosemarycnn. The news continues now with our Max Foster in London. You are watching CNN. Have a great day.