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World Awaits Donald Trump's Decision on Paris Climate Accord; Death Toll in Kabul Rises; Corbyn Left Big Debate Before Snap Elections; New Focus on AG Sessions in Russia Probe; New Word Confused the World. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 1, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: We'll soon have the answer to a cliffhanger. Donald Trump's long-awaited decision on whether to honor a multi-national commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We're live in Kabul after one of the deadliest bombings in recent years, it's raising new concerns about security in Afghanistan's capital.
Plus, we're just one week away from the snap elections here in the U.K. Ahead, who showed up for Wednesday's big debate and who was noticeably absent.
Hello, and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Max Foster, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
Well, the Trump White House is just hours away from making a historic decision that could dramatically affect the future of the planet. At issue is the 2015 Paris climate accord and whether the U.S. will honor that landmark agreement or not.
A short while ago, President Trump tweeted he would announce his decision on Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern. If the White House pulls out, the U.S. will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not on board with the Paris deal.
CNN's Jim Acosta has the details.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wouldn't answer the question, but administration officials say the president is expected to end U.S. participation, a decision that flies in the face of last-minute appeals from U.S. allies and scientists from around the world. The president's move to pull out of the climate deal would fulfill a campaign promise.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will cancel this deal so that our companies can compete. ACOSTA: But the decision also runs counter to advice coming from his
own daughter Ivanka who supported staying in the agreement. An administration official said Ivanka created a process to ensure the president heard from people on all sides of the issue, both inside and outside government.
Yet, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer could not say whether the president believe human activity contributed to climate change. The president has repeatedly called climate change a hoax.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether or not the president believes that human activity is contributing to the warming of the climate?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I haven't asked him.
ACOSTA: Cancelling the Paris agreement is sure to excite conservatives, dealing a blow to the legacy of Barack Obama.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today is a historic day in the fight to protect our planet for future generations.
ACOSTA: Democrats are furious. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, "In walking away from this agreement the president is denying scientific truths." Even some republicans have his doubts.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If he does withdraw that would be a definitive statement by the president that he believes climate change is a hoax. Stay in the deal and make it a better deal would be my advice.
ACOSTA: Still, the president was signaling for some time he was pulling out of the Paris deal, telling French President Emmanuel Macron over the weekend, "A lot of people in my country are against this agreement."
TRUMP: Chancellor Merkel, thank you very much.
ACOSTA: The move to scrap the Paris agreement will further isolate the president from some of the same allies that he irritated at times during his foreign trip, even as the president is said to be feeling increasingly withdrawn at home he has been seeking closer ties to other foreign leaders, asking Macron of France to exchange phone numbers.
"You want my cellphone number so we can speak directly to each other? And offered to swap digits that is once again raising questions about the security of the president's home habits.
As for the Russia investigation, the White House offered a new approach to dealing with questions about the probe, referring the inquiries to the president's outside council Marc Kasowitz.
Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)
FOSTER: Well, European leaders aren't happy about the prospect of the U.S. bailing out of the Paris Accord. Listen to what the president of the European Commission had to say on Wednesday in Berlin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): If in the next few hours or days the U.S. President leaves the Paris agreement, then it is Europe's duty to say it's not like that.
It's not just about the future of people in Europe. It is above all about the future of people in other places. That's not how it works. The Americans can't just leave the climate protection agreement.
Mr. Trump believes that because he doesn't get close enough to the dossiers to fully understand them. They would take three to four years after the agreement came into force in November 2016 to leave the agreement.
So his notion, I am Trump, I am American, America first and I'm going to get out of it, that won't happen. We tried to explain it to Mr. Trump in Taormina in clear German sentences. It seems our attempt failed, but the law is the law and it must be obeyed. Not everything which is law and not everything international agreement is fake news and we have to comply with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[03:05:05] FOSTER: Well, we have reaction now from Europe and from Asia. CNN's Matt Rivers is in Beijing. But let's start with Melissa Bell, she's in Paris. If Donald Trump does pull out, and he can pull out, right, what sort of reaction will that be in Europe do you think?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A great deal of disappointment of course. You only have to look back a year and a half to remember the euphoria, only is the sense that people here in Paris, those politicians, specifically the government of the time that put so much capital, political capital into trying to reach this deal, there was almost a sense of disbelief that it actually been achieved.
So of course a huge amount of disappointment, but I think the signal that will be sent goes much further than the question of climate itself. This will be the confirmation of what many European leaders have been suspecting for some time, that Angela Merkel spoke about so publicly over the weekend, this sense that Europe can no longer count on the leadership of the United States.
And I think all eyes will very much turn then to other potentially, not just on questions of the climate but on other geo strategic considerations, in the search for leadership on other questions as well. And it is something you are going to see in Brussels if of course
today and tomorrow with the E.U. and China expected to reconfirm their commitment to the 2015 deal that was reached in Paris, but also hoping to greater cooperation, actually to go further in accelerating its application, Max.
FOSTER: Well, let's speak to Matt on that because obviously in Beijing they will be looking at the other big polluter which is the U.S. to live up to its side of the bargain. Why would China stay in the deal if the U.S. isn't?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's a couple of different possible answers to that. We're not going to get anything concrete out of the Chinese government, but what you've seen from the Chinese government is an unwavering commitment over the last several years to really try and combat climate change.
You can look internally and look at the fact that China is one of the more polluted countries in the world and there's a lot of domestic considerations for the Chinese government to consider. The people here really want to see the daily pollution that we see, that we breathe; those of us who live here everyone wants to see it go away.
And so it's a very popular position for the Chinese government to take. China is also in the eyes of many experts looking to assume more of a leadership role on the global stage.
And what way to do that, what better way to do that than to take the forefront of an issue that apparently 195 of the countries in the world agree on minus Nicaragua, Syria and perhaps the United States after this announcement from Donald Trump?
So China does appear to be ready to forge ahead whether the United States remains in this agreement or not, China seems to say and it's putting its money where its mouth is, investing hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few years in clean energy projects.
So China does appear committed to stay the course, if you will, and remain in this agreement and then assume a de facto leadership role if the United States leaves. Many, many other countries are going to look to China for leadership when it comes to pursuing an anti-climate change agenda.
FOSTER: And Melissa was suggesting this is bigger than climate change. It is about relationship between Europe and the United States. On that level is it the same for China? Is it an opportunity to assert it as a world leader?
RIVERS: Well, I mean you can look at what President Xi Jinping when he gave the keynote address at Davos the World Economic Forum a couple of months ago and that speech was largely viewed by analysts as kind of a coming out party in a way, for China to try and assume a more leadership role in terms of globalization, in terms of things like climate change.
So the fact that in that speech you heard Xi Jinping talk about being a proponent of free trade, you heard him talk about globalization and you heard him talk about combatting climate change all in the same speech.
I think it's clear that Beijing views these things as an intractably link. How that will define the bilateral relationship between China and the U.S. going forward, China tries not to allow issues of national security and trade and the environmental issues to bleed into one another.
But it's certainly a question that experts will be considering going forward, how does this affect the bilateral relationship, perhaps the most important bilateral relationship in the world between China and the United States.
FOSTER: OK. Matt in Beijing, Melissa in Paris. Thank you both very much indeed. And we'll have more international reaction later this hour. We'll hear from Fred Pleitgen, he's in London on some of the wider European implications. Should the U.S. pull out of that Paris accord? And we'll get the view from India as well.
Now on to one of the deadliest attack that hit Kabul in years, highlighting how fragile security really is there. This video shows the moment the blast explosion took the heavily fortified diplomatic district by surprise on Wednesday.
At least 90 people were killed and 400 others were wounded. The attack comes as the U.S. and NATO consider sending in more troops to help train Afghan forces.
CNN's Muhammad Lila has arrived there in Kabul right now. And what do we know about the culprits behind this, Muhammad?
[03:10:05] MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, no group has step forward and claimed responsibility. Afghan intelligence services are pointing the finger at the Haqqani network, which is known to pull off very complex attacks, very similar to this.
The Haqqani network of course is sort of a subsection of the Taliban. They've been accused a number of times of carrying out attacks like in the past. And really quite frankly, this bears some of their hallmark signatures. They are known for large vehicle-borne explosions, and particularly in this case it was a sewage truck that it is believed was filled with an estimated 1500 kilograms of explosives.
And if you look at -- you know, I wouldn't call it a mushroom cloud, but if you look at the cloud that rose in the sky above Kabul, that really gives you a sense of the scope of the attack. And I can tell you on a personal level, Max, I've covered explosions here in Afghanistan, I've covered explosions both in Kabul and elsewhere including some of the biggest explosions. I have never in my life seen and explosion this big and the numbers really back that up.
The latest numbers are at least 90 people killed and 461 injured. And just to give you a bit of context, Max, I mean, last week we were in Manchester talking about those numbers. Those numbers the latest were 22 people killed and 75 injured. Well, just in this attack here in Afghanistan we are up to 461
injured. That gives you a sense of just how massive this explosion was and the widespread damage that it caused.
FOSTER: It happened there in the diplomatic district. What sort of security implications are there as a result of this?
LILA: Well, you know, this is an area that has a number of check points, and it's a place where a sewage truck should not be able to access a main area like that without having been checked at least once or twice before it makes its way there.
So clearly the group that pulled this off has a lot of sophistication, had a lot of expertise in order to do this in their term successfully. But of course, there's a lot of anger out there. Look, you have to remember Afghanistan has suffered for so long and hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested to keep Afghanistan safe.
And despite that massive investment both in money and in the blood of the soldiers who gave their lives to keep Afghanistan safe, still these terror networks have this capability to pull off very complex attacks like this.
And look at the area it was in, it was very close to the Indian embassy, it was close to the German embassy, and the Canadian embassy, all of those we believe suffered some damage as a result of this. Even, for example, just the presence of foreigners here, the latest numbers that we have are 16 Americans, for example, were injured as a result of this attack.
So, you know, yes, it was a diplomatic area but it was also a busy part of the day, it was the rush hour, and it was an area where there was -- yes, Max. I'm still with you. Can you hear me?
FOSTER: Yes, OK. We have to leave it there, Muhammad. But thank you for that. We're going to bring further updates on that investigation as the details come into us. Muhammad there in Kabul.
The investigators meanwhile, have new questions about the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. And the fired FBI Director James Comey expecting -- expected to offer some bombshell answers as well when he speaks about this.
Plus, the British prime minister bet on herself when she called a snap election. But now that's almost here and that bet looks a bit more risky than she expected.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FOSTER: Bombshell testimony in the Russia investigation expected as early as next week from James Comey. A source tells CNN the former FBI director will say President Trump pressured him to end his probe of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Meanwhile, the House intelligence committee has issued subpoenas for Flynn and Mr. Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. And the White House is now deflecting all questions about the Russia investigation. Spokesman Sean Spicer held his press briefing off camera on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN is reporting that James Comey will testify that the president pressured him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation. Did the president engage in obstruction of justice in repeated meetings with James Comey?
SPICER: Our job -- we are focused on the president's agenda and al going forward all questions on these matters will be referred to outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing questions about another possible meeting with Russia's ambassador. Multiple sources say he may have met with Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 campaign when Sessions was still a senator.
Sessions has come under fire for not reporting previous contacts with Kislyak. A spokeswoman responded, quote, "The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. We will allow him to do his job."
"It's unfortunate that anonymous sources whose credibility will never face public scrutiny are continuously trying to hinder that process by peddling false stories to the mainstream media."
"The facts haven't changed. The then-senator did not have any private or side conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel."
Well, the Russian banker who met with president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner is attending an economic forum in St. Petersburg. President Vladimir Putin will also be there.
CNN's Clare Sebastian is in Moscow with details. What information are we getting from the Russian end?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, very little in terms of new information. They're not commenting on new reports coming out of Washington, either about Sergey Gorkov or in fact the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
What we are getting, Max, is a kind of new level of frustration in their defense especially of the Russian ambassador. We heard from several high ranking officials this week defending him.
The deputy foreign minister earlier in the week saying that the defamation, the ongoing defamation of him in Washington was causing indignation in Moscow and we heard it again from the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov yesterday. He called the constant reports about Ambassador Kislyak absolutely unacceptable.
But I think it's interesting that President Putin heads to St. Petersburg today to participate in this forum which is really a showcase for the Russian economy. He wants to, you know, get across this message that Russia is open for business.
It is growing again this year about 1.4 percent, according to the IMF, a lot better than the situation last year where it was still recovering from one of the worst recessions we've seen in decades. You know, he may have hoped at the beginning of this year that this would be more of a victory lap, you know, with growth -- with growth kind of up there again and a potential ally in the White House.
That does not seem to have materialized, but you know, he will be looking for support from the international community. He will be meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi perhaps a sense that Russia is diversifying away from alliances with Europe and the U.S.
But, still, the issue of sanctions, Max, very key here. And that was on the agenda last year, there was hope that Europe might lift them. That does not seem to be the case.
FOSTER: Yes, so this issue around Ukraine and the sanctions associated with that, is that the message today, that Russia can build economic relationships with countries outside Europe, for example?
SEBASTIAN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, there's been a sense for a while Russia is looking for new partnerships and certainly we will get that idea from the forum today. They are also saying there are a lot of reports out today that there is more participation from the U.S. side than there was last year.
I think they are trying to get across that there are business deals to be done even while the relationship with the Trump administration seems to be stalled.
But on that issue of sanctions, Max, we have reporting out that there is discussion going on in the Trump administration about potentially, you know, lifting the sanctions on those compounds that were shut down in December as part of the Obama administration era, sanctions on Russia over alleged meddling in the election.
[03:20:02] Russia is very keen to see any sanctions, whether it be economic related to the Ukraine or related to the election, lifted. We heard from a Kremlin aide this week who said nobody has cancelled the principle of reciprocity.
You remember the Russian side did not retaliate for those sanctions back in December, but they're still keeping that option open. They do say they are going to meet with the U.S. side in June in st. Petersburg on this issue of those compounds, so we await for more on that. But certainly the Russian side is pushing for any lifting of sanctions that it can get.
FOSTER: OK. Clare in Moscow. Thank you. Now with about a week to go until the snap election, British Prime Minister Theresa May decided to skip a televised debate.
But the closest rival labour leader Jeremy Corbyn jumped in at the last minute and he hit the ground running as well going after the home secretary who took the prime minister's place. Here are a few highlights from the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I will just say this, since Amber Rudd seems so confident that it is a country at ease with itself. Have you been to a food bank? Have you seen people sleeping around our stations?
Have you seen the level...
AMBER RUDD, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: Of course, Jeremy. I'll response to that.
CORBYN: Have you seen the levels of poverty that exists because of your government's conscious decisions on benefits?
RUDD: I'd like to answer your attack. I would like to answer your attack. Of course I have been to food bank.
TIM FARRON, BRITISH LIBERAL DEMOCRATS LEADER: The elephant in the room. The fact is we need to remain in the single market or else we will not be able to afford the national health care service, social care or any of the support we're talking about.
And if Jeremy cared about having enough money to spend on those who need it the most, to raise living standards, he would not have trooped through the lobbies with conservatives to trigger article 50 and to make Britain poorer.
PAUL NUTTALL, U.S. INDEPENDENCE PARTY LEADER: Businesses will leave this country, and if businesses leave the country...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're leaving already because of Brexit, Paul.
NUTTALL: No, they're not. Listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're leaving already.
NUTTALL: If businesses leave, there's less tax, there's less jobs and more people will be unemployed. That's what you will get if you vote labour.
RUDD: We have to make sure we have an immigration policy that we can control. We have said, the conservative party and the government, that we will continue to reduce those numbers.
As we leave the European Union, we'll have more chance to do that and to be able to decide who comes to this country. But be in no doubt we always will have an immigration policy, that although it continues to reduce, will attract the brightest and the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Our Nina Dos Santos joins us now and she watched al of that unfold but actually most of the debate was before the events itself when Jeremy Corbyn suddenly stepped in and said he would appear, but Theresa May didn't appear and it's being held against her?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: Yes, she seems to be spectacularly wrong footed by this. You can only imagine that perhaps the conservative party H.Q. they were expecting to send somebody more junior to debate.
We recently saw Diana, but they're debating against the big political talk shows on the BBC. But of course, no, what we ended with was a scenario where we had five leaders of key parties across the country including of course the main opposition party labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, we had Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, we had the head of that Welsh Party, Plaid Cymru, and the leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster and U.K. (Inaudible), as you saw there.
So we had the leaders of all of these other parties, but the prime minister was repeatedly -- was repeatedly berated for not being there on stage.
In fact, it was the leader of the Green Party who said, well, the first rule of a general election, especially if you called it yourself, is turn up.
FOSTER: It's interesting, isn't it? And now we have a situation where everything seems to be going against Theresa May. She can't seem to keep up with the national mood right now because the poll numbers, although we can't completely rely on them, show the gap narrowing with the labour party.
DOS SANTOS: Yes, you know how that is, a week is a long time in politics. Two weeks has been absolutely disastrous for Theresa May's lead. She went into this election looking as though, she was going to be the most popular leader this country had since the end of the 1970s.
She was poised to have a 20 point lead over labor at the time that she called the general election just a couple of months ago. That is absolutely evaporated. The latest poll shows that there's only something like a 3 point difference between her and the labour party.
FOSTER: From what?
DOS SANTOS: From 20 odd points about a month or so ago.
DOS SANTOS: And in fact it was 17.5 points the difference just two weeks ago. So this lead really has shrunk. And the big question here is has she miscalculated here. What she was trying to do by calling a snap election at a time when she had said all along that there wouldn't be a general election right up until making another one of her famous U-turns, Max, was that she wanted to capitalize on the fact that the Tory Party was likely to gain a bigger majority in parliament.
She said she needed a bigger majority to negotiate the toughest deal of all, which of course would be Brexit. But now she is facing potentially according to the latest polls, and we should be cautious because as we know polls haven't been extremely reliable over the last couple of electoral cycles here and over in the United States.
[03:25:02] But she was trying to capitalize on the popularity of the Tory Party. But that popularity seems to have evaporated. She may not get the majority that she wanted. We may even face the scenario of a hung parliament according to at least one poll.
We should point out though, that that poll didn't have the same methodology as ones that have been used in the past. So one scenario could be a hung parliament, another scenario could be what Amber Rudd referred to repeatedly in that debate is coalition of chaos. That the Liberal Democrats Party, as well as the Labour Party getting together and forming a coalition instead. So it's looking slightly closer for Theresa May than many would have thought until this point.
FOSTER: And what does it mean for Brexit?
DOS SANTOS: Well, this is the big question. So she says that she needs a stronger hand to negotiate Brexit. She's also said that, you know, this general election that, by the way, she called, may be a bit of a distraction.
That she is too busy getting on with the job of meeting people, finding out what they want out of Brexit to debate on the stage with other leaders. But the reality is that Jeremy Corbyn is also committed to Brexit but he wants a softer Brexit, he says, and he said it in a TV debate earlier on this week, that he wants a deal with the Europeans.
She says, well, I don't want a deal at any costs because if I go into negotiations with that position I'm going to come out with a bad deal. Obviously we know that the liberal democrats also want to deal, they want to try and keep the U.K. inside the E.U. even if it could come at the cost of having a second referendum.
So more of the parties are much, much softer on Europe, but of course she is facing pressure from inside her own party to be hard on Europe. And if she doesn't manage to get that majority, she could also face a challenge from inside her own party.
FOSTER: Yes, a week is a long time in politics. So we will see where we are this time next week. Nina, thank you very much, indeed.
Still ahead, a decision that could have consequences for the whole world. Donald Trump weighs U.S. participation in the Paris climate agreement. And the complications of keeping the campaign promise about a U.S. embassy.
FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster updating you on our top stories this hour.
Still no claim of responsibility for the powerful suicide bombing in Kabul on Wednesday. At least 90 were killed and more than 460 others were wounded. The attack comes as the U.S. is deciding whether to send more troops to train Afghan forces.
Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into Michael Flynn's ties to Russia. A source close to the issue says Comey could appear before the Senate intelligence committee as early as next week.
[03:30:02] Less than 12 hours from now U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce he's pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. Senior officials tell CNN the president is leaning toward scrapping the deal which the U.S. signed in 2015.
Mr. Trump said he will announce his decision Thursday afternoon at the White House. If the president does bail out in Paris agreement it will be consistent with what he said about the issue in the past. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether or not the president believes that human activity is contributing to the warming of the climate.
SPICER: Honestly, I haven't asked him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that the temperature of the earth is increasing and what would you do believe that vis-a-vis global climate change.
TRUMP: Well, First of all I'm not a believer in global warming. I'm not a believer in manmade global warming. You want to have clean air, you want to have clean water, that's very important to me. And I've won many environmental awards. I am not a believer in climate change.
Our president is worried about global warming. What a ridiculous situation.
He said global warming is our biggest problem. OK. We have problems, OK. We have some big problems. We may have a global warming problem, but it will be of the nuclear variety if we don't have smart people in office and soon.
We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it is real.
TRUMP: I did not. I did not.
CLINTON: I think science is real.
TRUMP: I do not say that.
I will also cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama/Clinton. Including all global warming payments to the United Nations, billions of dollars.
I'm still openminded. Nobody really knows. Look, I'm somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It's not something that's so hard and fast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, climate experts in the U.S. are upset about the possibility of the U.S. leaving the Paris Accord. Gina McCarthy served as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama. She says quitting the agreement runs counter to scientific consensus and undermines Washington's long-term goals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINA MCCARTHY, FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR: This decision should he pull out is really contrary to the science. It really abandons our obligations internationally to really protect the health and well- being of citizens everywhere, including American families and our kids' future.
It amazingly runs contrary to the advice of hundreds of CEOs and investors that really tally more than seven trillion dollars in assets in the United States that are saying we need to lean in on climate action, not run away and stick our heads in the sand.
It's not consistent with the majority of people in this country, in the United States. Almost 70 percent want us to provide leadership on climate. You know, it will seed the benefits of technology and breakthroughs to other countries, and in the end it's really going to mean that the world everywhere will wonder whether the United States is going to be a trusted partner.
So it's incredibly disappointing on so many levels, but for me most importantly it says that we're not willing to invest in public health in this country and make sure our kids and their future is protected.
It doesn't make any sense from both an economic perspective as well as a public health perspective. So I have to understand that this was done by this president for his own reasons, and in many ways he seems to be just playing to his base as if he was campaigning to be president instead of doing the job of being president.
He needs to explain to people that climate science is real. We have to address this issue, and this is what we have to do. You know, frankly, he is undermining his own ability to make progress on trade and national security issues, the issues he really embraces by moving away from an agreement that the United States spearheaded and we have an obligation to actually continue to invest in.
So in many ways it doesn't make sense from the facts on the ground, from his actual responsibility to protect the people in the United States and from an economic perspective in terms of maintaining our ability to really be leaders in new technology innovation and investment.
It just doesn't make sense all around. So other factors are in play here, and I wish he had the confidence to stand up as a president, provide the kind of leadership on this issue that everybody's demanding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Gina McCarthy there speaking. The Paris Accord is truly unprecedented in both its scale and its ambition, established at the 2015 Paris climate conference, 195 countries signed the agreement, signifying their intention to join, and 147 of those have now formally ratified it.
[03:35:08] The aim is to limit the rise of global temperatures to under the crucial 2 degrees Celsius limit. Countries must submit emissions assessments every five years and they're required to establish at least $100 billion in climate related financing by 2020.
Well, along with the U.S., India is one of the world's biggest polluters. Let's get reaction from there from CNN's Ravi Agrawal in New Delhi. And the question is what will India do if the U.S. pulls out?
RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL'S NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Max, the official line from India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi here is that failing on climate change would be, quote, "morally criminal."
Now that actually is a change in stance historically from what India said, because historically at climate change conferences India has taken the stance that it wasn't one of the contributors to the climate change and the global warming we have seen worldwide, and therefore it shouldn't be taking the lead when it comes to acting on global warming or climate change.
But that's clearly beginning to change here in India with this government and in general. And I would point to two reasons why. The reasons really, Max, are politics and business.
On the political front we see this every day here. New Delhi here where I am is now one of the most polluted cities in the world. The air is difficult to breathe. There are protests here about the quality of the air. People are angry and so the government wants to act on that. It wants to be seen to be acting on that and it wants to make India, at least its energy sources, cleaner moving forward because it is also politically expedient to do so.
Now the other thing here linked to that is that for the first time in perhaps history it is now also expedient economically to depend more on renewable energy. So for the first time ever, just a few months ago at an auction for electricity here in India, solar prices were cheaper, 50 percent cheaper than they were a year ago, but they were also 24 percent cheaper than coal, the dirtiest and earlier the cheapest source of energy in the world.
So India is finding that investing in solar is working out very well for it. In fact, according to the U.N., India is now eight years ahead of schedule to meet its target to be 30 percent renewable energy driven by 2030.
So given all of those developments put together, there's a lot of support here now for the climate change agreements that Narendra Modi signed in October of last year. And it's highly unlikely that there will be a change on that front no matter what any other country does, Max.
FOSTER: OK. Ravi in New Delhi, thank you very much indeed. Back with you when we get this announcement from Donald Trump later on, Europe standing firmly by the Paris Accord as well.
Fred Pleitgen is here with more. We heard from Donald Tusk today.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Donald Tusk tweeted a few months ago saying, Donald Trump, please don't worsen and then he put in brackets, political and then climate afterwards.
So, obviously he is alluding to the fact that he believes that if the U.S. does cancel their participation in this climate agreement in the Paris Accord, that this will also have major implications diplomatically as well.
With Europeans nations but I think he's also talking about global nations as well. One of the things that we have to keep in mind is that I think literally right now, Angela Merkel is meeting with the Chinese prime minister and the Chinese have said that they're committed to combatting climate change and to this agreement, and also of course looking with deeper trade ties with Germany as well, and with Europe as a whole.
He is going to Brussels after that. It's going to be very interesting to see if the U.S. did indeed cancel their participation in this climate agreement what sort of other repercussions that could have. As the Italians have already said we don't see eye to eye with the U.S. on climate change. And they think that's a big issue diplomatically.
FOSTER: And, you know, at the moment Angela Merkel is very much seen as the leader of Europe, right?
FOSTER: So do we see her supporting a Chinese position as a way of, you know, elevating China's position in the world?
PLEITGEN: Well, I think that that's something that could very well happen. I think that China is looking for leadership on climate policy after for a very long time being, of course, a very large polluter and still being a large polluter but then also economically as well.
And I think one of the interesting things happening right now there are a lot of European countries are looking for deeper trade ties with China because they're not sure whether they can rely on the U.S. as much anymore, or at least they will be over the next four years.
So, it's going to be very interesting to see the meeting with Angela Merkel and then also what happens in Brussels. There are of course a lot of issues between China and the European Union on trade as well, market access being one of them, and the Chinese have a lot of issues as well.
But at this point in time I think the Chinese do see a big opportunity to get closer ties with Europe and closer trade ties especially. Of course, Angela Merkel is going to be key in that.
FOSTER: And it does play into what China has been saying, that they want a bigger position in the world.
PLEITGEN: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think right now they feel that they have a good chance to achieve that because right now, I mean, they definitely have some very positive vibes coming out of Berlin as far as trade is concerned.
[03:40:02] Again, the Germans still have some issues with the Chinese. They don't feel that they're as welcome in China as they were a couple of years ago because China obviously has some internal problems as well, but I think the Germans really are looking to strengthen that alliance.
I think Angela Merkel it's been so interesting to see her sort of transformation over the past couple of days since you had Donald Trump visit, President Trump's visit in Europe last week, where really it seems as though she has come to the conclusion that it's going to be very, very difficult to work with this U.S. administration and that's why I think she's looking for closer ties of European countries which, of course, is something that Germany can achieve being one of the lead nations in Europe, but also with Asian countries as well.
She hosted the Indian prime minister just a day ago in Berlin, and they were talking about deeper trade ties. That's going to be a big one to watch, what sort of economic, political, diplomatic repercussions it would have if, indeed, President Trump cancels that climate agreement.
Because I think he is not really -- or it seems as though he doesn't really understand how central and how important climate policy is to a lot of European countries and to a lot of Asian countries as well.
FOSTER: Because Europe, you know, obviously there's consensus on many issues, not complete consensus, but this is actually one of the issues where ever one in Europe seems to be agreed.
PLEITGEN: Yes. It absolutely is. And it was interesting to see Angela Merkel come out of that meeting last week with President Trump saying, look, in the G7 right now, we have a six to one situation where everybody wants to hold on to this agreement and strengthen it.
The U.S. is not sure. It looks as though President Trump is quite negatives towards it. You had the Italian prime minister come out and say, look, we have to go out own way in Europe and climate change is the main reason. We simply don't see eye to eye with the United States on that issue.
The French obviously see things pretty much exactly the same way as well. So that's something where you do have pretty broad consensus. I mean, obviously not all countries, but certainly the main, the large economies of Europe have all started a process also where they're trying to get their industries to go more towards sustainable development.
The Germans especially have gigantic wind turbine production in the north of the country. The French are also large in wind turbine production. Solar production is huge in China. So they are looking at this as a future industry as well and sort of realigning and changing the way that their own industries do business.
And also, of course, the way that they get their power supplied. And look on at all that if you fly to London here from Germany, all of the wind parks you see in the Baltic and north seas, it's happening right now in Europe.
FOSTER: OK. Fred, thank you very much indeed. Now, it's all in the timing. Coming up, the factors affecting President Trump's promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.
Plus, we will take you to the English seaside where those voters are getting ready for yet another major British general election.
FOSTER: U.S. President Trump is expected to renew the waiver that keeps the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv instead of moving to Jerusalem.
[03:45:00] But an administration official says after Mr. Trump's recent visit to the Middle East he believes peace between the Israelis and Palestinians could be at hand. The official says the president still plans to move the embassy at some point just not now.
Oren Liebermann joins us now from Jerusalem. And this will be a big disappointment there.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It will be, but it's been a disappointment that's been expected now for quite some time, even since before Trump visited Israel and Jerusalem and the West Bank at the beginning of last week.
The expectation has been for let's say, a couple of months now that Trump simply isn't going to move the embassy, especially as he tries to pursue a peace deal between Israelis and the Palestinians, something that his special envoy for the Middle East peace process Jason Greenblatt has been working hard on meeting with Israelis and Palestinians. And it seems Trump realizes that moving the embassy right now would essentially be forfeiting that opportunity to pursue peace. We'll see if he tries again, if and when a peace process either succeeds or fails. And that would be his next opportunity.
Remember, he gets this chance essentially every six months. There may be some still trying to hold out some hope that at the last second Trump may change his mind, but all indications are at this point that Trump will sign the waiver today and the embassy will not be moving.
Let's also remember that in his visit to the region he met with Saudi leaders and other Arab leaders, and to move the embassy at this point would essentially be to sacrifice all of the tremendous goodwill he just built with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah of Jordan.
Abdullah was one of the first leaders who visited the White House and pushed him on the embassy don't do this right now, this is such a sensitive issue. It seems Trump got the message and will wait at least six more months to make a move here.
FOSTER: When he says he believes peace between the Israelis and Palestinians could be at hand, he will need to offer something else then won't he, to the Israelis to make it happen. So what might he have in mind?
LIEBERMANN: Well, he has a few options if he wants to pressure the Israelis or give them a political win so that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maneuvering room when it comes to peace process. He could, for example, and these are just some of his options, he could, for example, recognize Israeli sovereignty over occupied Golan Heights.
Remember, that's Syrian territory that Israel annexed back in the '80s. If he's to do that, if the U.S. would recognize that, that would be a big political win for Netanyahu and would give him some room in the peace process.
He could also release Jonathan Pollard from terms of his probation. Pollard is an American spy who was convicted of spying for Israel. He just recently was released from prison but the terms of his probation require him to stay in the U.S.
If Trump allows Pollard to come here, again, a big political win for Netanyahu and would allow Netanyahu to make at least some concessions. What is Trump going to do? That at this point an open question because there have been no concrete steps towards bringing Israelis and Palestinians together to restart a peace process. Max?
FOSTER: OK. Oren, thank you.
Hillary Clinton says she takes full responsibility for her decisions but says that's not why she lost the U.S. presidency to Donald Trump.
On Wednesday she took aim at the media. Former FBI Director James Comey and even her own Democratic National Committee for contributing to her loss. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: You know, I set up my campaign and we have our own data operation. I get the nomination, so I'm now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party.
WALT MOSSBERG, CO-FOUNDER, RECODE: What do you mean nothing?
CLINTON: I mean it was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, Clinton again admitted using a private e-mail server was a mistake but says the media covered it like it was a war. President Trump tweeted, Clinton blamed everybody but herself.
Here in the U.K. there's growing uncertainty among voters to decide the coming snap election. Many people are resigning themselves to simple reality that anything could happen.
Our Richard Quest went out to test the waters.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Since we brought Freddie Brexit to the English seaside, we thought we would bring the candidates too, Tim Farron from the lib dems, Jeremy Corbyn for labour, Theresa May for the Tory's.
Well, obviously the candidates couldn't come but this is next best thing. And it was perfect to gauge the reaction of people here in western superman.
Taking the picture with this -- with Mr. Corbyn?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Corbyn, yes, absolutely.
QUEST: A sign of approval?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, definitely a sign of approval, yes, absolutely. I think a sign of hope as well for the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm surprised people haven't take a pot shot at them all to be honest.
QUEST: Really? Or thrown some sand?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes.
QUEST: Were you tempted?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. QUEST: Do you think it will be a hung parliament?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. I certainly do.
QUEST: That will be a surprise, wouldn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, well, the labor manifesto look appealed to a lot of people and she had a few gaffes didn't she?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're all much the same now, there's not much difference between them and they don't tell us the truth.
[03:50:01] QUEST: The general election is a lot closer. What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully labor. But I can't -- I think it will be hung, I think it be drawn, I think it will be neck and neck. So I already think. I mean, I'm on labour. Well, I just say they are neck and neck.
QUEST: So good news for Jeremy Corbyn, less so for the Prime minister Theresa May, and still a week to go as they saddle up for the final furlong.
FOSTER: Not long now. The U.S. space agency NASA sending a probe towards the sun, for the first time ever. It will fly more than seven times closer to the solar surface than any other spacecraft ever and swoop right into the sun's blistering hot atmosphere, the Corona.
The region is so scorching the probe had to be fitted with special shields.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLA FOX, DEPUTY PROJECT SCIENTIST, RADIATION BELT STORM PROBE MISSION: Right now the space craft is being bit and tested, being put through a lot of rigorous testing to make sure we can withstand that environment.
We're going into the Corona. As you heard, the Corona's temperatures can get up to a couple million degrees. We're not going quite that close, but still where we're going to will be at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, that's about 1400 degrees Celsius, and the probe expected to launch in about a year.
Now just ahead, the kerfuffle over covfefe, however you want to say it. People are going nuts over Donald Trump's head-scratching tweet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there's one word that has the world bewildered today. Covfefe. That's the word.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going to say covfefe. We can fight it later. When you hear that line -- I mean, first, Chris, is it covfefe or covfefe, I mean, whose team are you on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm more of a covfefe guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: What sort of guy are you? We'll have more on the president's mysterious new word.
FOSTER: When an underground pipe burst in Ukraine it had the awesome force of an erupting volcano. But instead of lava it sent water gushing everywhere. Look at that. Asphalt and mud exploded 25 meters into the air damaging cars and buildings. But no one luckily was hurt.
Local media said the aging pipe blew when it was undergoing a pressure test. It could have been worse for pipe normally carries super-heated water but was filled with cold water which is obviously less dangerous.
A group of Nordic leaders denied they were trolling Donald Trump with a picture that went viral on social media. The photo shows the prime ministers of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden with a hands-on a football. The caption reads in part, "who rules the world." Riyadh versus Bergen.
Just a few days earlier a picture showed Mr. Trump, Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President Sisi with their hands-on an illuminated globe in Riyadh. We'll let you be the judge of what was going on there.
Now, where is auto correct when you need it? Certainly not there to clean up President Trump's tweet which set off a frenzy on social media as only Jeanne Moos can analyze.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gibberish goes presidential. It wasn't a complete sentence tweeted by President Trump just after midnight. Despite the constant negative press -- what's that word?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
MOOS: Professionals could only guess at how to pronounce it, and the public...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is hilarious. MOOS: And how do you say it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been saying it covfefe.
[03:55:01] MOOS: We're pretty sure the president meant to type negative press coverage, but the covfefe tweets stayed up for almost six hours. It was then deleted and the president tweeted, "Who can figure out the true meaning of covfefe? Enjoy." Which the internet did.
It was turned into a wheel of fortune puzzle. A make American covfefe again, mocked up tee-shirt. Eventually the White House press secretary only confused things more.
SPICER: The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.
MOOS: Hillary Clinton probably wasn't part of that group.
CLINTON: I thought it was a hidden message to the Russians.
KARA SWISHER, CO-FOUNDER, RECODE: You do.
MOOS: Tweeted one joker, "are you suffering from small dysfunctional hands? Ask your doctor if covfefe is right for you." Tweeted other, "I thought covfefe is what you say when someone sneezes."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds French, covfefe.
MOOS: Covfee was turned into an Ivanka fragrance. A California man bought the license place as soon as he noticed the non- word trending.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yiddish term for I got to go to bed now.
MOOS: Al Frank and enemy, Ted Cruz tweeted "covfefe? Hard to say but I hear Al Franken's new book is full of it." Many assume President Trump fell asleep.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: yes, it's just like e-e-e-e-e-e.
MOOS: Mid tweet.
TRUMP: I know words. I have the best words.
MOOS: The best non-words, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
MOOS: You say it with such assurance.
Jeanne Moos, CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe.
MOOS: New York.
FOSTER: I guess we need President Trump to say it for defining answer on that.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. Back with more after this short break.
FOSTER: Donald Trump could be on the verge of pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. A decision from the U.S. President is just hours away. We'll look at what it could mean for the deal.
And Afghan security forces blame a group with ties to the Taliban for this deadly blast in Kabul. We'll get the latest in a live report.
Thanks for joining us. I'm Max Foster in London. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
[03:59:59] Donald Trump entered the White House promising to put America first. In the coming hours, we'll find out if that means walking away from the Paris climate accord, signed by every country in the world except two.