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Trump Insider Writes Stinging Editorial; Kavanaugh Faces Grilling on Capitol Hill; Koreas Prepare for Next Summit; Deadly Protests in Basra; Trump Lashes Out After Reports of 'Quiet Resistance' by Staff. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 6, 2018 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Donald Trump is fuming after an unnamed senior administration official reveals that people close to the president are actively working to undermine him.

The Supreme Court nominee spent the day getting grilled on Capitol Hill and there are certain questions he's refusing to answer.

And Britain charges two Russians for the attempted murder of a former spy and his daughter but the suspects may never see the inside of a British courtroom.

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


CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump says he is draining the swamp in Washington but the swamp is trying to fight back. It's his latest response to a scathing op-ed in "The New York Times," which the newspaper says was written by an anonymous senior official in his own administration.

The author says he or she is part of the resistance working to protect the country from the president. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has the details.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New signs tonight of a war within President Trump's White House. An anonymous op-ed in "The New York Times" written by a senior Trump official offers a blistering look at how people inside the government are trying to protect the nation from the president.

"We believe our first duty is to this country and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic," the person writes.

"That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions, while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office."

An extraordinary claim and, tonight, the president is blasting the newspaper.

TRUMP: If the failing "New York Times" has an anonymous editorial -- can you believe it?

Anonymous. Meaning gutless, a gutless editorial. We're doing a great job.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet it rocked the White House, amplifying and echoing the same overarching theme of a bombshell new book by Bob Woodward.

TRUMP: The book means nothing. It's a work of fiction.

ZELENY: President Trump tonight trying to downplay and discredit Bob Woodward's new book, which offers a portrait of deep dysfunction inside his White House. The president stumbling on one word again and again.

TRUMP: Fiction, fiction.


It is more fiction.

ZELENY: But behind the scenes, CNN has learned he's enraged and on a mission to find out who cooperated with Woodward for his book, "Fear: Trump in the White House."

It's his own West Wing witch hunt, with one official telling CNN, "He wants to know who talked to Woodward."

But now there's another mystery sure to outrage the president, the official who wrote this anonymously in "The Times."

"The dilemma, which he does not fully grasp, is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."

The official, who insists they want Trump to succeed, also writes, "The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision-making."

The legendary "Washington Post" journalist of Watergate fame defending his book in five simple words: "I stand by my reporting."

In the president's first public comments about the book, he denied ever ordering or even considering the assassination of the Syrian leader, as Woodward reported.

TRUMP: That was never even contemplated, nor would it be contemplated.

ZELENY: Trump made clear he's trying to discredit Woodward, who he assailed on Twitter as a Dem operative.

TRUMP: If you look back at Woodward's past, he had the same problem with other presidents. He likes to get publicity, sell some books.

ZELENY: But the president once called Woodward great in 2013 after he wrote a book critical of the Obama administration.

Then, he came to Woodward's defense, tweeting, "Only the Obama White House can get away with attacking Bob Woodward."

And "The Post" released a recording of a call between Woodward and the president last month, saying this:

TRUMP: I think you have always been fair, but we will see what happens.

ZELENY: Inside the tense West Wing today, the president made clear he was keeping track of which current and former officials issued denials.

TRUMP: General Mattis has come out very, very strongly. He was insulted by the remarks that were attributed to him.

ZELENY: In the book, Woodward writes Mattis said that the president had the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader during a discussion about North Korea. Mattis denied that account.

TRUMP: General John Kelly, the same exact thing. He saw it. He was insulted by what they said. He couldn't believe what they said.

ZELENY: And Kelly is portrayed describing the president as "unhinged" and "an idiot." He, too, denied it.

Yet there was notable silence from other former officials; White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and staff secretary Rob Porter --


ZELENY (voice-over): -- all of whom were depicted in the book, trying to protect the nation from the president.

TRUMP: And "The New York Times" is failing.

ZELENY: While the president also rails against it, he also cares deeply what's inside his old hometown newspaper. In Friday's edition, it will be this blistering assessment of his presidency from someone who works from him.

"From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief's comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims."

It is an extraordinary back-to-back blistering assessment of the president from someone inside his own government. Sarah Sanders saying this person should do the right thing and resign. She called the writer "a coward" -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles, Michael Genovese is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So an unnamed senior official claims to be part of a resistance working within the Trump administration and writes an explosive op-ed, revealing an impulsive, petty, reckless and ill- informed president, who poses a threat to the nation.

This comes a day after portions of Bob Woodward's book reveals some senior Trump officials think President Trump is "an idiot," "a liar" and worse. The overriding message here, this president's not fit for office.

How concerned should we be and is this a watershed moment for the president?

GENOVESE: Well, coming on the heels of the release of the book "Fear" -- or at least the excerpts of it -- this is a devastating one-two punch and it's devastating in part because "The New York Times" editorial was not from the deep state that the president's been criticizing, it's from an insider, someone the president himself chose.

So it's a high official that he picked who is now saying what we've heard rumblings of before, well, we'll stay in the White House because we need to protect the country from the excesses of the president.

This is the first time we've really had something that is hard-hitting and direct, that goes right to the heart of the presidency and challenges him on some of the key variables of leadership.

He's anti-democratic. He's reckless. His behavior is unstable. He throws tantrums. So you see a whole series of criticisms against this president coming from someone who works for him.

CHURCH: Yes, and the author reveals, the author of this op-ed reveals, there were whispers within the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But instead they chose this group of people, these senior advisers chose to steer the administration in the right direction until, one way or another it's over, their words.

What do you make of that?

GENOVESE: Well, you know, the only other time we've actually had serious discussions of invoking the 25th Amendment, which was only passed in the 1960s, was during the Reagan years right after the Iran- contra story broke when President Reagan became a bit paralyzed and they couldn't shake him out of this lethargy. They said, you know, what are we going to do?

If he stays like this, we've got to do something. They discussed the 25th Amendment. They ruled it out because Nancy Reagan intervened and got her husband back on track.

That's a very unusual thing to do, very difficult to do because it's the inside of your own administration, doing it to your insider president.

So that would mean that Mike Pence would have to lead this, a majority of the cabinet would have to vote on it and then certainly Donald Trump would challenge it, which would mean it would go to the Congress for a decision, a Republican Congress.

So it would probably provoke a constitutional crisis. We're better off not going there until we really have to.

CHURCH: Right. This group, this author, whoever's involved seems to agree with your assessment of that.

So what do you think the motivation is for writing an op-ed like this?

Is it about being on the right side of history?

Or is it something else?

And who do you think the author may be?

Because that may determine the motivation.

GENOVESE: Well, I would have much preferred the author signing it, letting us know who it is. But I can understand, if you believe that you're doing God's work basically by protecting the country from your own president, then maybe you need to be an insider and, therefore, anonymity was important.

Who was it -- who might it be?

Maybe General Mattis. Could be Mattis. He's been critical of the president. In Bob Woodward's book, he has some very harsh things to say about the president.

We don't really know. Perhaps we never will. But my guess is that it's someone who, number one, is trying to do a public service but, number two, might also want to be on the right side of history when that is written.

CHURCH: Yes, of course, the president is fighting back, calling Bob Woodward's book "a work of fiction" and the op-ed "gutless" and "treason." And the president is hunting down the author of this op- ed. This is what he tweeted late Wednesday.

"Does the so-called senior administration --

[02:10:00] CHURCH: -- "official really exist or is it just the failing 'New York Times' with another phony source?

"If the gutless, anonymous person does indeed exist, 'the Times' must, for national security purposes, turn him or her over to the government at once."

So the president calling for "The New York Times" to turn over its source.

Your reaction to that?

GENOVESE: We don't do that in this country. We don't turn people over to the government because they criticize it and I think the president was way out of line on that.

Look, nobody likes to be criticized. The president has a very thin skin. But that goes with the job. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The president, though, wants to desperately find out who did this, wants to make an example of that person, saying we're going to basically string you up and show everyone around the White House that if you start to cross the president, you will meet this same fate.

The problem is, so many people around the president and within his own party don't have the kind of loyalty or affection or support for the president that he demands. Consequently, the president is going to be demanding support from people who are unlikely to respond to him.

CHURCH: It is not going to be a nice place to be, I would think, in the next few days at the White House. Michael Genovese, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

GENOVESE: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: There were more fireworks and pointed questions on Capitol Hill for some 12 hours on Wednesday. President Trump's pick to be the next Supreme Court justice faced a grilling from lawmakers. Our Phil Mattingly reports.


BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: No one is above the law in our constitutional system.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On day two of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee's confirmation hearings, the president himself taking center stage. Brett Kavanaugh citing precedence from past nominees, declining to weigh in, first, on whether presidents must comply with subpoenas.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIF.: Can a sitting president be required to respond to a subpoena?

KAVANAUGH: So that's a hypothetical question about what would be an elaboration or a difference for U.S. v. Nixon's precise holding.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And again on presidential pardons.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: President Trump claims he has an absolute right to pardon himself.

Does he?

KAVANAUGH: That's a hypothetical question that I can't begin to answer in this context as a sitting judge and as a nominee.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Some Democrats attacking Kavanaugh's credibility, questioning whether he knew if he had received strategy information stolen from Senate Democrats in 2003...

LEAHY: I am concerned because there is evidence that (INAUDIBLE) provided you with materials that were stolen from me. And that would contradict your prior testimony.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C.: Did you ever knowingly participate in stealing anything from Senator Leahy or any other senator?


GRAHAM: Did you ever know that you were dealing with anything that was stolen property?


MATTINGLY (voice-over): -- and if he was truthful when he testified in 2006 about his Bush administration's detention policies.

KAVANAUGH: I was not read into that program. I told the truth about that.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Also facing questions on his views, settled law on abortion rights, with Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey...

KAVANAUGH: As a general proposition, I understand the important of the precedent set forth in Roe v. Wade.

MATTINGLY: -- an issue Democrats drilled down on repeatedly.

FEINSTEIN: I don't want to go back to those death tolls in this country. And I truly believe that women should be able to control their own reproductive systems within, obviously, some concern for a viable fetus.

KAVANAUGH: I don't live in a bubble. I understand. I live in the real world. I understand the importance of the issue.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Phil Mattingly, CNN, Capitol Hill.


CHURCH: Austin Dove is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.

Thank you so much for joining us.

AUSTIN DOVE, ATTORNEY: Pleasure. Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: So day two of the hearings and Judge Brett Kavanaugh received a grilling from the Democrats and softball questions from the Republicans but didn't answer many questions at all, as we saw there.

Exactly as you expected?

DOVE: Exactly as I expected. I mean, he's kind of picking up a trend that we've seen happen with these kinds of hearings. Less is more. He knows that the questions are going to be agendized on either side so that the Republicans will ask one way and the Democrats will another.

The kind of questions that come out when something, you know, daunting may be put out there. So he did it -- he was strategic and thoughtful and probably, as a person in his position should be --


DOVE: -- given the scope and importance of this selection.

CHURCH: Now the biggest issue for most people as they watch these hearings is abortion.

What do you think Kavanaugh revealed he might do when it comes to Roe v. Wade?

And what are you guided by when you look at some of his past writings and his past decisions?

DOVE: Well, you see that the very, very conservative bent, consistent with maybe some signs that he might go toward either chiseling away at parts of Roe v. Wade or maybe outright reversing Roe v. Wade.

What's going to happen is there will be a test case or two that will come through the system from different states, maybe from a Michigan or a South Dakota or another state, that is going to -- that would authorize a ban on abortion or on wider restrictions on abortion. It will work its way up through the system.

The Supreme Court will cherry-pick which one of those cases to take. And then once they take one of those cases on, they will decide how -- which rung of that case they're going to make a decision about.

They're going to be very careful to keep some parts of the precedent intact. But while they'll be careful on that end, they will be strategic in selecting the parts that they would want to undermine, dismantle or change. So that's what we're going to see. It's going to depend on those test cases.

We've seen it in other contexts, affirmative action, other voting rights issues coming up before the Supreme Court. So they'll be tactful about it and then they'll separate and parse it out. And that's how precedent is often made in ways that can be very far- reaching.

CHURCH: Yes, and, of course, the other issue is whether a president can pardon himself or whether a sitting president can respond to a subpoena or be indicted. Again, Kavanaugh not very forthcoming.

But should he be answering questions like that as a future Supreme Court justice?

DOVE: I think he probably is doing -- he's playing dodge ball very, very effectively. Those are important questions. But what we have to rely on, as the questioning senators did on the committee, is his past work, his past writings. That tells us a great deal about where he's going to tend to lean, what he's going to do.

These are important issues. They're hot button issues. But the way that you can really predict where he's going to go, it's very, very clear from the writings, you pointed out one or two of them previously, where he'll go with this is quite obvious.

And it's going to be a big, big swing in the pendulum now, with the court's composition the way it is now. And this additional member very likely to be confirmed, almost certain he'll be confirmed, what that makeup's going to be.

So then it's going to be to other parts of the institution to figure out what can come up and when and then how the responses are on the ground level.

CHURCH: Austin Dove, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

DOVE: My pleasure.

CHURCH: Well, for a country that has already dealt with deadly floods, typhoons, heat waves and landslides this year, Japan cannot catch a break. Yet another natural disaster has struck.

This one a 6.7 magnitude earthquake on the northern island of Hokkaido. At least two people have been killed. Dozens more are injured. The quake also caused landslides, which buried a number of homes. Nearly 3 million have lost power.

And still to come, Kim Jong-un tells South Korea he is committed to getting rid of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula but he wants something back from the United States. We'll explain.

And the fiery protests in Iraq's oil hub. Why people in Basra are furious with the government. We're back in a moment.



[02:20:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

CHURCH: South Korean president Moon Jae-in will travel to Pyongyang later this month for a third meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

As details of that summit were ironed out hours ago, South Korea revealed that Kim wants to achieve denuclearization while President Trump is in office. Our Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul with more details on this.

So Paula, with recent souring relations between North Korea and the United States, this, of course, is welcome, if not surprising news.

What all are you learning about what was said exactly and what are we to make of this?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, a fair bit of information has come out from the envoy's meeting with Kim Jong-un on Wednesday.

We have heard from the Blue House just about an hour ago, that when President Moon and President Trump spoke on the phone on Tuesday night ahead of this visit, President Trump actually asked Moon to pass on a message, to pass on a message to Kim Jong-un.

That message has been passed on and we now know that there is a message that's been passed the other way. This evening local time, the national security chief will speak to his U.S. counterpart, John Bolton, and relay that message.

So there is communication still between the U.S. and North Korea, although using the South Koreans as a mediator. In fact, we're hearing from the Blue House that, during that phone conversation, President Trump actually asked President Moon to be the chief negotiator representing the U.S. and North Korea, which, to be fair, is effectively what he has been doing all along, trying to bring both sides closer together.

We do have a date for the summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in. That will be from the 18th to the 20th of September in Pyongyang. It will be the third time that the two leaders have met and the first time that President Moon will travel to Pyongyang.

Certainly that is a key summit. One of the key issues that we are expecting to be discussed there is the declaration of the end of the Korean War. Back in --


HANCOCKS: -- it was signed (INAUDIBLE) of the end of war. It's something that North and South Korea want. It's something the U.S. appears to be dragging its feet on.

But we had a message through the South Koreans that Kim Jong-un has said it's not going to affect the U.S.-South Korean alliance and it won't affect the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea if they do declare the end of the war. -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Interesting. And that -- of course, we're seeing this progress first between the relationship between North Korea and the United States. And now as you've been talking about, this third summit. There seems to be some tremendous progress in that relationship between the North and South.

HANCOCKS: That's right. They have also announced that they're opening a liaison office at Kaesong, this is a former joint industrial park in North Korea which is whether there will be more cooperation between North and South Korea. It's one of the pledges from that first summit back in April.

And certainly there is a sense that things are moving forward from a North and South Korean point of view. North Korean television has just been running the images of a South Korean envoy in Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, running those pictures, saying it was a warm and cordial atmosphere. Smiles all around. Kim Jong-un is smiling. From a North-South Korean point of view, it certainly appears this relationship is forging ahead.

It's interesting that we're now hearing that President Trump is asking President Moon to be more involved, to be the chief negotiator, even passing messages on to the North Korean leader through him and through his office.

CHURCH: Yes. It will bring a lot of relief in the region and we will, of course, continue to watch this story very closely. Our Paula Hancocks bringing us the very latest. There nearly 3:30 in the afternoon in Seoul, South Korea. Many thanks.

Well, Paraguay is backtracking on its decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.


CHURCH: In May, Paraguay became the third country after the United States and Guatemala to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv. But Paraguay's new administration, which just took office last month, is reversing that move, citing the sensitivities of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

The decision has angered Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now closing Israel's embassy in Paraguay.

Well, public anger in Iraq's southern oil hub is turning deadly. Activists say Iraqi forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at demonstrators in the third day of protests in Basra. Ben Wedeman reports on the growing fury against the government.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The southern Iraqi city of Basra is in revolt, its residents fed up with crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment, contaminated drinking water that has sent hundreds to hospital and prolonged electricity cuts in a city that swelters in the summer.

The protests also spurred on by anger at endemic corruption and official incompetence.

So far this week, security forces have killed at least six protesters; dozens of others, including police, have been injured. The discontent here is even more intense since many of the troops that helped defeat ISIS came from Southern Iraq.

"Is this the way they reward the people of Basra," demands protester Fadhil Hussai (ph), "by attacking with live ammunition?"

Basra should be one of Iraq's wealthiest cities. It sits atop much of the country's oil wealth. But little of that wealth has been felt by the residents of this, Iraq's third largest city.

The caretaker government in Baghdad, already paralyzed since an inconclusive election more than four months ago, has promised to address Basra's problems but, so far, only promises have reached the city.

Prime minister Haider al-Abadi has called for an immediate investigation into the killing of protesters. But he's also blaming the unrest on unnamed protesters.

"There are parties that are pouring oil on the fire, who are setting people against the security forces to jeopardize Basra's security," Abadi told reporters in Baghdad Tuesday.

Basra's many woes are fuel enough for this fire -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.


CHURCH: And just ahead, British authorities say they know who tried to kill a former Russian spy with poison and even have the suspects on surveillance video. We're back with that in just a moment.


[02:30:29] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on our top stories this hour. An anonymous op- ed in The New York Times claimed some members of the Trump administration are working from within to protect the nation from Donald Trump. The column was written by someone The Times calls a senior administration official who describes the president as reckless and amoral.

Mr. Trump calls the essay gutless and suggests the author may not even exist. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un has unwavering trust for President Trump and wants to achieve denuclearization while Mr. Trump is in office. That news coming from South Korea's national security director who met with Mr. Kim on Wednesday. The two sides just agreed on a date for a third summit September 18th in Pyongyang. A 6.7 magnitude earthquake has struck Northern Japan triggering landslides that buried a number of homes.

At least four people have died, dozens are hurt, and 31 others are missing. The quake also collapsed roads and knocked out power to nearly three million homes. Well, five people have been arrested in India in a brutal rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir State. Among the accused, the girl's stepmother and stepbrother. CNN's Alexandra Field is following this story and joins us now live from Hong Kong. So Alexandra, bring us some background on this. What exactly happened and what is the next step with this?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, even the police who investigated the heinous crime call it bone-chilling and horrific. They say they found the body of a nine-year-old girl dumped in the bushes, covered with leaves and sticks and branches a week after she had been reported missing. They say she had been gang raped, strangled, attacked with an ax, a knife, and acid dumped on her body.

They said that they have now arrested five people that is all of the accused people that they were seeking among the group, the girl's stepmother and her stepbrother. They say that this was motivated by a family feud. But the hideous details of the crime certainly prompting outrage already. We have reactions from the Delhi Commission for Women. Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of that group has tweeted this. This is the most painful and horrific incident ever.

These men are a disgrace on humanity and need to be given the death penalty urgently. One after the other, little girls are being brutally raped with no action from the government. Rosemary, we have certainly seen national outrage erupt over sexual violence against girls and women in the form of protests in India in this past year. You've also seen some moves taken to try to protect girls and women like a strengthening of a law that means that the rape of a child under the age of 12 is now punishable by the death penalty in India.

But you heard it there and you'll hear it often advocates for girls and women say strengthening of laws has not been enough to protect these girls and women, Rosemary.

CHURCH: The details are horrifying. Alexandra Field bringing us an update on that story just horrifying. Well, Britain has charged two Russian men in the nerve agent attack that almost killed a former Russian spy and his daughter in the City of Salisbury. Prime Minister Theresa May says the suspects are Russian military intelligence officers who traveled to Britain in early March, carried out the attack, and then returned to Moscow. CNN's Phil Black explains how police cracked the case.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two Russian men arrive at London's Gatwick Airport on March 2nd. Their mission according to British police, assassination. Investigators tracked down their movements over several days using security video. That night, they stayed in this East London Hotel. The following day, March 3rd, they made a suspected reconnaissance run to Salisbury traveling by train and returning to London to sleep at the same hotel.

Sunday, March 4th, they travelled to Salisbury again. Police believed soon after this image was captured they sprayed the nerve agent Novichok on the front door of Sergei Skripal's home. That afternoon, Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a bench in the town center critically ill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're releasing these photographs --

BLACK: By that time, police say, the suspects had already travelled back to London to board a Moscow-bound flight from Heathrow Airport. At that point, it's likely they felt the operation was a cleanly executed success, but if so they were wrong.

[02:35:03] The targets Sergei and Yulia survived. Police officer Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was also poisoned. He's recovering. But local woman, Dawn Sturgess lost her life because of a plot that had nothing to do with her. Months later at the end of June, the 44- year-old mother of three and her partner Charlie Rowley found what they thought was a small bottle of fancy perfume. Dawn sprayed it on her wrists, she collapsed later that day. A week later she died.

Charlie Rowley also felt ill but survived. Police say the bottle and its packaging were clever bags used to smuggle and deploy the same nerve agent used against the Skripals.

NEIL BASU, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, COUNTERTERRORISM POLICE: We do not believe Dawn and Charlie were deliberately targeted but became victims of a result of the recklessness in which such a toxic nerve agent was disposed of.

BLACK: Police say the suspects were travelling on real Russian passports using the suspected aliases, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. Britain's Prime Minister says a body of intelligence shows these men are members of Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU.

THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: The GRU is a highly disciplined organization with a well-established chain of command. So this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.

BLACK: Police have not revealed the suspected motive behind any of this and Russia has denied any involvement. But the GRU is also the Russian intelligence agency Sergei Skripal officially worked for while he was spying for Britain, coincidence? Or proof Russia's spies never forget or forgive a traitor? Phil Black, CNN, Salisbury.


CHURCH: The Kremlin denies it was behind the attack and says the U.K. is stirring up a politically-motivated campaign to vilify Russia. We heard from CNN's Matthew Chance a bit earlier.


again or having any knowledge of these individuals saying the photographs and the names that have been circulated by the British authorities in association with this poisoning mean nothing to us. They're saying we don't even know who these people are. And so they seem to be adopting a strategy, not just of denying that Russia had anything to do with the poisoning, but also saying they don't know who these individuals are at all rather than representing in some any kind of, you know, explanation of why they may be there.

But the fact is the British authorities are provided a very high degree of detail to back up their investigation and that in itself undermines the Russian consistent pleas of innocence.


CHURCH: The U.N. Security Council is expected to take up the case on Thursday. Well, the scallop wars between France and England appear to be over. A compromise between fishermen fighting over the shellfish was announced Wednesday. The dispute came to a head last week off the Normandy Coast when French and British boats rammed each other. The French can fish legally for scallops only seven months a year.

They accused the U.K. of unfair competition because the British boats can harvest the meaty mollusks all year round. The new agreement restricts scallop fishing to certain size vessels and apparently other details will be hammered out on Friday. We'll take a short break here. But still to come, just be patient now and you will hear a Japanese couple's secret for 80 years of marriage. Imagine that. Back in just a moment.


[02:41:52] CHURCH: A story of inspiration there and here's another one. A couple in Japan are celebrating 80 years of marriage. It's a milestone that set a record. Here's CNN's Lynda Kinkade with the secret to their success.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Japan has one of the longest life expectancies in the world. So perhaps it's no surprise this Japanese couple holds the record for the oldest living married couple by aggregate with a combined age of over 208 years. Masao Matsumoto is 108 and his wife, Miyako, is 100. But their lives were not always easy.

MIYAKO MATSUMOTO, RECORD HOLDER FOR OLDEST LIVING MARRIED COUPLE (via translator): We are more grateful than anything else. I will not be leaving behind any money.

KINKADE: The two got married in 1937, but were too poor to afford a wedding. Masao fought in World War II, but survived and went to work for the local port authority. Now, the two centenarians live a quiet life. HIROMI SATO, DAUGHTER OF MASAO AND MIYAKO MATSUMOTO (via translator):

They have entered their last chapter of life. It was an honor to receive this award. I would love them to continue living a peaceful life.

KINKADE: The couple recently celebrated the birth of their 25th great grandchild bringing their family total to 60 people. And the secret for staying married for more than 80 years? Miyako has some advice.

MATSUMOTO: We lasted this long because I was patient. That's the truth.

KINKADE: Something for all married couples to think about as they count down the decades. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


CHURCH: Patience. There you go. That's the key. Thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. And I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in 15 minutes. Don't go anywhere.