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U.S. Congress Passed New Sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea; Kremlin Views Proposed Sanctions Negatively; U.N. Security Council Set to Meet Over Jerusalem Rift; Outrage Grows Over Poland's Judicial Overhaul; Kushner White House Connections Luring Investors; Video Appears to Show Police Planting Evidence; Canadian Man Builds Staircase for $550; War Movie "Dunkirk" Premiers in London. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired July 23, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:00:09] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. Congress poised to impose new sanctions on Russia. Lawmakers making sure President Trump can't water them down.
Plus this. Escalating tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank with U.N. Security Council planning an emergency meeting.
And opening to rave reviews this weekend. World War II epic that's already getting Oscar buzz.
Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
4:00 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast. Welcome. It is seen as punishment for Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Congress promising new rounds of sanctions. House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal on Saturday on bill even though President Donald Trump has shown little inclination to criticize Moscow, signing this bill might become a political necessity.
The Kremlin says that it would view a move like this as, quote, "quite negatively."
Keep in mind, it's been a very busy and hectic week in Washington regarding the issue of Russia. You'll remember the "Washington Post" reported the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed campaign issues with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on at least two occasions in 2016. That directly contradicts what Sessions has said in the past.
U.S. intelligence intercepted Kislyak reporting Sessions' comments to the Kremlin. In a statement from the U.S. Justice Department, Jeff Sessions stands by his previous denials of contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign.
So as things stand now, Congress appears set, poised, on the fast track with these sanctions getting it ready for the president possibly in days to sign.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins has the latest for us.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: House and Senate negotiators announced Saturday that they had come to an agreement on a new bill that would place sanctions on Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Now these sanctions against Russia would be in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election as well as their military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.
Now according to House majority leader Kevin McCarthy's schedule, this could come to vote as soon as Tuesday. It would go to the Senate after that and then it could hit Donald Trump's desk before August.
Now a key part of this bill is a congressional mandate that would require a review if Donald Trump decided to end or ease these sanctions against Russia. This is a key part of the bill that the White House has pushed back on as it has been crafted. But if Donald Trump decided to veto this legislation, he would almost undoubtedly face backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike, who think that the president should take a tougher stance against Russia.
Meanwhile all this is going on, Donald Trump has been very active on Twitter, blasting Hillary Clinton, James Comey and the special counsel. His most notable tweet Saturday was about pardons, though. Let's take a look.
"While all agree the U.S. president has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crimes so far is leaks against us? Fake news."
Now this tweet comes after a "Washington Post" report that claimed that the president and his legal team were exploring his pardoning abilities and seeing just how far his authority does go.
Now a source familiar with the discussion told CNN that a curious Donald Trump was asking questions in an informational way. Donald Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, pushed back on this "Washington Post" report, calling it nonsense and saying that his team is cooperating fully with the special counsel's investigation.
Back to you.
HOWELL: Kaitlan, thank you.
The reaction from the Kremlin towards more U.S. sanctions is predictably negative.
CNN's Clare Sebastian, following the story live for us in Moscow.
Clare, good to have you with us this hour. What is the word so far? Any new official word given what's happening here?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: George, just that very economical text message that we got yesterday from Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman. I asked him what he thought about the new agreement in Congress that could pave the way for new sanctions on Russia. He said he viewed it quite negatively which, you know, and perhaps purposely understated.
But it does very much encapsulate the mood here. Russia has always been quick to condemn any kind of sanctions on it. It views it as serving no other purpose than worsening relations and hurting the economies and companies in the countries that impose the sanctions. And it has repeatedly said that it reserves the right to retaliate. Not just for new sanctions but of course for existing sanctions.
Don't forget that when the Obama administration brought in that package of sanctions in late December against Russia for alleged meddling in the election, Russia did not retaliate.
[04:05:10] And now they are saying, now they're holding talks with the U.S. trying to get those diplomatic compounds in the U.S. that were seized to be returned. They have stepped up the rhetoric in recent weeks. The Foreign Ministry has said that a retaliatory -- a package of retaliatory measures have been prepared. We don't know what's in that yet.
And the Kremlin says it's losing patience. As they said, George, quite negatively is pretty understated but it very much represents how they feel overall about sanctions.
HOWELL: You know, Clare, the question obviously is how will Russia respond if as this goes through, looking back at history as a guide, what could be expected?
SEBASTIAN: Right. That's an interesting one, George, because the traditional way of these things working is, you know, the tit-for-tat response. You blacklist our officials, we'll do the same. But I think from Russia's point of view and the understanding that banning a U.S. official, for example, from traveling to Russia may not be always quite as much of a deterrent as they are looking for.
They've opted in the past for what's been known as asymmetrical measures. For example, you know, in 2014 then President Dmitri Medvedev threatened to stop European allies flying over Russian air space in response to EU sanctions. And another notable example that's come up recently is what Russia did in 2012, just a month after the U.S. ordered the Magnitsky Act to bring in sanctions on suspected Russian human rights abusers.
Russia banned American families from adopting Russian children. It never said outright that this was in retaliation but certainly the timing would suggest that. So I just want to read you a tweet actually that came out this weekend from a prominent Russian senator. He said, "If the U.S. brings in new sanctions, we should review our relations in areas that are important to them. Without our reciprocal measures, the price for the U.S. will be zero."
So it's not exactly clear what he means by areas that are important to them but it is clear that Russia is not in the mood to take this lying down -- George.
HOWELL: Clare Sebastian, in the Russian capital, thanks for the reporting. Let's get some context now by bringing in Inderjeet Parmar. He is a
professor of International Politics at City University of London, live with us this hour.
It's good to have you with us. Let's start with this issue of sanctions. This is a big deal. The U.S. Congress focused on making this happen. And for the Russian government with bipartisan support despite the president who is seeking warmer relations with Russia.
And in this case, Inderjeet, have you seen something like this before, Congress creating provisions to make sure the president can't weaken these sanctions? When faced with this bill, does he have any other choice but to sign it?
INDERJEET PARMAR, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, CITY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, specifically on sanctions I'm not entirely sure. But clearly in the past, presidents have been checked on various policies they wanted to carry out, for example, in the 1980s, you will recall that President Reagan's administration was prevented from passing further aid to opponents to the Sandinista regime in the Nicaragua.
So I think there are this kind of checks and balances built in so it will make President Trump's administration kind of going to even a deeper crisis. They suggest that mistrust of the administration and the way which it is run by a very kind of small country of individuals, who are quite unorthodox in their origin, if you like, that the suspicion of that has now kind of expanded right across the political system as well as within, if you like, the federal executive as a whole. And I think that does suggest a kind of slight ramping up of already existing tendencies.
HOWELL: This after we've reported on meetings between the U.S. president and Russian president Vladimir Putin, meetings in fact that went longer than expected in some cases and initially in one meeting that wasn't disclosed to the press until we found out about the meeting, but also at a time when the president was looking to have, you know, interaction with cyber security on Russia.
So now faced with this bill, if he were to veto the bill, would Congress then have the ability to override that veto and still make it happen?
PARMAR: Well, I think the presidential veto is very significant and important. But I suspect that whatever way this goes, the issue will not go away. We've seen this issue come up over and over again over the last several months and I think that's going to continue. But I think there are different layers, if I may, in which we -- which we need to kind of analyze what is going on and to some extent these are very, very significant questions.
The character of the Trump administration and their small group of people right at the center of it, and their business dealings and so on, are implicated in some of the -- these kinds of sanctions which have been carried out. [04:10:04] There is a kind of relationship between them. And the
other thing, of course, is that how does this play in the broader American public and the American electorate. And I think when you look at the numbers for President Trump's administration, the official opposition, the Congress, part to the media, and elsewhere as well. The Democrats and Hillary Clinton and so on. Nobody is doing very well out of this.
And I think the crisis which brought President Trump to power I think is continuing to deepen rather than go away. So we could have a -- you know, serious shift in America which could the Trump administration deeply destabilize if not completely so, or we may not actually escape the character of the crisis which brought him to power in the first place.
HOWELL: You talk about optics here. Let's talk about the president's most recent tweet where he mentions directly his new interest in presidential pardoning power. This coming as an interesting statement, Inderjeet, from Mr. Trump, considering the many investigations that are swirling around him. What do you make of this?
PARMAR: Well, I suppose when one seeks the ill advice on any question, whether they're an individual or the president, then I suggest you are assessing your options. It doesn't in itself prove --
HOWELL: Inderjeet, I have to interject and pardon me for doing so but to assess your, you know, options publicly, on Twitter?
HOWELL: What's the reasoning behind that?
PARMAR: Well, I think President Trump always plays a hard game, that is, he never backs down. He takes on anybody who criticized him, he throws back, you know, what he believes is 100 times more dirty in their directions. So he will try to deflect attention. He will try to say well, that's in my power, my right. I am president.
He has a fairly autocratic, imperial presidency sort of view of his office and I think that probably comes from the fact that as a billionaire, head of a major corporation he basically is able to call the shots. And he believes I think sometimes that the presidency is a little bit like that as well. Unfortunately I think he's learning in a very hard way that actually conducting presidential business is much, much more difficult than running a private government of a corporation.
And I think he does a lot of his thinking out in public. And what this does then effectively he caught crises, he brings on further attention to the kind of things that are going on, rather than necessarily focusing on one of the big issues which brought him to power. Where are the jobs when he promised to the people who voted for him? What happened to the jobs in the various places he announced back in December, January and so on? A lot of them are disappearing to Mexico, et cetera. So instead of doing something which is really positive, what he's
seeing is an erosion of his base. And I think this is the first time really that I am able in a position to say that. The people who strongly approve of President Trump, those numbers have gone down. Those who strongly disapprove of him among his supporters have actually gone up.
So what we're seeing is an erosion of his own base and I think this suggests that the crisis is very deep for this administration. But as I'm saying earlier on, I think the crisis is so deep that even the Democrats are hovering around 38 percent approval. Hillary Clinton at 40 percent. Congress at a mere 20 percent.
Only Bernie Sanders as far as I can see has got a 57 percent approval. That is to say, the orthodox political forces which now Donald Trump has joined all in a bit of a crisis. And I don't think anybody comes out of this particularly well.
HOWELL: What an interesting snapshot. Inderjeet Parmar, thank you so much for the insight.
PARMAR: Thank you.
HOWELL: And we'll stay in touch with you. Thank you.
PARMAR: Thank you.
HOWELL: It's been a roller coaster six months that many say they've experienced during the Trump administration. Sean Spicer, though, he's been in the middle of this. He handed over his resignation as the White House press secretary on Friday. This came just after Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump campaign fundraiser, accepted the job as communications director.
Sources who are familiar with the changes say that Sean Spicer opposed Scaramucci's hiring. Hear Scaramucci's side about the story later today. You'll get to hear that. He'll be a guest on Jake Tapper's "STATE OF THE UNION." That is at 9:00 a.m. in New York, 2:00 p.m. in London right here on CNN.
We have some breaking news to share with you this hour. Eight people have been found dead in the back of a semi-truck. This in San Antonio, Texas. Some of them include people in their 20s and 30s. Police are treating this case so far as a human trafficking case.
And the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is presenting investigating. This trailer was parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Police say that the people were discovered when a person from that truck asked a store employee for water.
[04:15:03] We'll of course continue to get information on this and bring it to you. But again this breaking news story coming out of San Antonio, Texas.
The U.N. Security Council is set to meet on Monday over the latest wave of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. This after another Palestinian was killed on Saturday in clashes with Israeli forces. Officials say three other Palestinians were killed in clashes the day before, as were three Israelis in a West Bank stabbing attack.
Let's bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann, following the story live this hour in Jerusalem.
Oren, what more can you tell us this hour?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, today is a critical day and it seems obvious that over the weekend the international community focused in on what was happening here and is trying to intervene or trying to help out in any way to make sure the tensions go down at this point rather than up.
As for what exactly happened and how those tensions play out, we'll see over today and over the next couple of days now, but they are soaring essentially now in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.
We just spoke a short time ago with the Israeli military spokesperson. He says there was a round of arrests overnight in the area of the Friday attack where three Israelis were killed. 25 members, they say, either arrested as being members of Hamas or the concern there that they may be carrying out an attack soon. So that is part of the tension here.
On top of that Palestinian factions have called for today as the day of rage, even if that's largely symbolic and we don't see that rage on the streets. It is an indication of where the mood is right now. It's all sides here. It's not just Israeli and Palestinians. This goes far beyond this. When it becomes about the holiest site in Jerusalem, all sides here trying to ease the tension before things get far worse and before we see a repeat of a wave of violence that we saw in late 2015 and early 2016 -- George.
HOWELL: Oren, if you could as well, just give our viewers some context again. This as we've seen days and days and days of this. Help our viewers understand exactly when these tensions started to flare up and what would might have been behind it.
LIEBERMAN: So let's focus on the Old City of Jerusalem, in the holiest site there known as the Temple Mount of Jews and Haram al- Sharif, one of the noble sanctuary to Muslims. That's the most holiest and the most contested disputed site in the Old City. So important to so many people here.
About a week and a half ago there was an attack at that site. Three Arab Israelis killed two Israeli police officers and that's what effectively began this latest round. In response, Israeli put in metal detectors and that has continued the tension, caused it to rise.
Why? Why are metal detectors such a big deal? Well, it's seen by Palestinians in the larger Arab world as Israel trying to impose its sovereignty and trying to take over unilaterally this holy site. That's why it's so sensitive. And that's what a source of this tension comes from. It's not about metal detectors. It's about one of the holiest sites in the world. The question now, what does Israeli do? There is some discussion that
Israel could remove the metal detectors and that may go a long way to helping ease things here. But what comes instead? Is it metal waving hand ones by security which could help? Or is this more intrusive and more serious which would very easily send things in the wrong direction here.
So when you think about it, this round of conflict, this round of tension, it's about the holy site as it has been so many times here before in Jerusalem.
HOWELL: With the reporting and context, Oren Lieberman live. Thank you for the report today.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is headed to the Gulf region. He'll try to patch up the growing rift between Qatar and its neighbors. Ending Turkish-Qatari military cooperation is just one of the demands that's being made by Gulf countries in order to lift the diplomatic and economic boycott of Doha. Thousands of Turkish soldiers have arrived in Qatar since this crisis began in June.
This is CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead this hour, for days thousands of protesters have rallied against efforts to overhaul Poland's judicial system and now they're demanding immediate action from their president.
Also later this hour, CNN finds some evidence of groups who are continuing to use White House adviser Jared Kushner's name to attract investors.
Plus, possible dishonesty from law enforcement. Caught on camera. We'll take a look at the police department that's facing some tough ethical questions.
All ahead here as NEWSROOM goes on.
[04:23:15] HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. What you're seeing there, that's some of the outrage on the streets in Poland. People there chanting, "We want a veto." This after the Upper House of Parliament passed a controversial new bill on Saturday. This bill now, it gives the government the power to remove all of the country's Supreme Court justices and to pick their replacements.
The president has 21 days to sign that bill or to veto it. Many critics view it as a power grab, even an attempt to undermine Poland's democracy. Protests have been steady throughout the country.
HOWELL: More demonstrations are planned in the coming days, all of this to try to influence the president to veto that bill.
Our Muhammad Lila has this from the Polish capital.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thousands of ordinary people here in Poland continue to flood the streets to protest what they say is a move by the country's ruling party that would infringe their basic democratic rights.
If you look around, you'll see many people holding candles. They say those candles are a symbol of hope and they're chanting slogans, slogans like "free court system" or "we want a veto."
And this all has to do with a controversial piece of legislation that's been proposed by the country's ruling party. If that legislation is approved by the country's president, it would give that ruling party unprecedented power to appoint and remove the country's Supreme Court judges.
And here is why that's important. If you think back to Democracy 101, one of the basic hallmarks of a free and stable and healthy democracy is an independent judiciary. Well, these people here are protesting, saying that if this bill becomes law, then this country will effectively no longer have an independent judiciary because whoever is ruling the country, in this case the Law and Justice Party, would be able to appoint supreme court judges that support that country's own mandate.
[04:25:03] Now for its part the ruling party says that this is part of the democratic process. And the ruling party should be allowed to have that control over the Supreme Court system. But if this flood of protests that we've seen not just in Warsaw but in fact right across the country is any indication, there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people right across the country, that are demanding that the president veto this legislation.
And that's really what it comes down to, the last effort or the last hope really of the protesters who are protesting is that the president will exercise his veto power. And all eyes now are going to be on a meeting that takes place on Monday between the president and the head of the country's Supreme Court system. We know that this legislation will come up. And we know that the president himself has 21 days to decide if he is going to approve it or if he will listen to the demands of the protesters and veto the legislation.
Certainly that's something that many of the opposition parties are hoping for.
Muhammad Lila, CNN, Warsaw.
HOWELL: Muhammad Lila, thank you for the report.
The former president of Poland, Lech Walesa, is also against this bill. He says the changes could weaken Polish democracy. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LECH WALESA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF POLAND (through translator): Our
generation led Poland to freedom in an incredibly difficult situation and based it on the separation of powers.
This is the most important thing that we managed to do. If anyone wants to disturb this most important victory, you, the young people, cannot let that happen. So that there is no doubt, I will always be with you despite my condition, even if they arrest all of you here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: One resident of Warsaw told CNN he remembered how his own parents protested in 1989 against Poland's then Communist regime. He called these demonstrations the same moment.
This is CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead this hour, Kushner companies already issued an apology once for promoting Jared Kushner's White House connections to investors. But now CNN has found evidence some companies are still using his name to make money.
Later this hour, the World War II film (Dunkirk) is getting rave reviews. We're on the red carpet for the star-studded premier.
We're live from Atlanta, Georgia, this hour. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
[04:30:53] HOWELL: 10:30 a.m. in Oslo, Norway, 4:30 in Hong Kong, P.M., and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM Worldwide this hour. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you.
Breaking news we're following out of the U.S. state of Texas. Eight people have been found dead there including some children, we understand. This in the back of a semi-truck in San Antonio, Texas. More than two dozen others taken to hospitals. Many of the people there in critical condition. Police are treating this as a case of human trafficking. The trailer was parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot. And the air-conditioning was not working. Police say that the people were discovered when a person from that truck asked a store employee for water. This is a story we'll of course continue to follow and bring you updates as we learn more.
The United Nations Security Council is set to meet Monday on the escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence. Officials say that a Palestinian died after clashes with Israeli forces on Saturday. That is in addition to three Palestinians reportedly killed on Friday and three Israelis stabbed to death in a settlement.
A bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, North Korea and Iran, it could hit the U.S. president's desk by the end of the month. House lawmakers will vote on this bill on Tuesday then it heads to the Senate. The bill would also curb President Trump's ability to water down, to ease those sanctions.
President Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. and the former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, they both reached a deal with the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid a public hearing. Instead they'll be interviewed privately ahead of any public sessions. The committee is hoping to get answers about the June 2016 meeting that they had at Trump Tower with the Russian attorney.
Also at that meeting at Trump Tower was Mr. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. CNN has found that Kushner's White House connection is still being used -- still being used to lure Chinese investors to his family's development projects. This after his family's company already apologized for mentioning Kushner during the sales pitch back in May.
Our Drew Griffin has this report.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ethical questions surrounding the promotions of this Kushner family project in Jersey City, New Jersey, are about to grow. That's because despite a fire apology from Kushner Companies, CNN has discovered that groups working with the Kushner project had continued to use White House adviser Jared Kushner as a promotional tool to attract Chinese investors seeking U.S. immigration visas, labeling him, "Mr. Perfect" and "Trump's son-in-law."
The promotions are for a Kushner building development covered under a U.S. government program called EB-5. It gives foreigners and their families a chance for a green card as long as they invest at least $500,000 in an American project.
And this project is the same one Jared Kushner's sister was pitching the wealthy Chinese investors in Beijing in May. Nicole Kushner Meyer used her brother as a selling point. Sparking outrage, a statement from Jared's lawyers saying, "Jared know nothing of the promotion," "was no longer financially tied to One Journal Square," and "would recuse himself from particular matters involving EB-5."
From Kushner Companies came this, "Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors. That was not Miss Meyer's intention."
(On camera): It was still on this Web site.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): But here on Chinese social media pages, CNN discovered companies continued promoting the Kushner's One Journal Square property, alluding to or directly referencing Jared Kushner and his connections to President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jared Kushner was on the "Forbes" magazine in 2016.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Right here, "Forbes" magazine?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Ads in Chinese writing that described the
Kushners as real estate big shots, Jared Kushner as the celebrity of the family, and "30-something Mr. Perfect, Jared Kushner, who once served as CEO of Kushner Companies." Another refers to the President himself saying, "Even some members of Trump's family have participated in the growth of the EB-5 program," and refers to Trump's son-in-law.
[04:35:09] And that "Forbes" magazine reference refers to this edition with Jared on the cover, "This Guy Got Trump Elected."
The posts come from two companies who worked with the Kushners to attract investors to their project. Chinese company QWOS or Q-W-O-S which organized the event in May where Kushner's sister spoke. And the U.S. Immigration Fund, a private company seeking EB-5 investors for the Kushner's New Jersey Development.
CNN contacted both businesses as well as Kushner Companies. But within hours the U.S. Immigration Fund sites had removed any references to Jared Kushner. In a statement the company blamed the post on a third party saying the post was several months old and has not had any interaction by followers.
Kushner Companies sent this response saying, "Kushner Companies was not aware of these sites," it has nothing to do with them. The company will be sending a cease and desist letter regarding the references to Jared Kushner. QWOS did not respond at all but did remove the Jared Kushner references shortly after CNN first aired this report.
In a letter sent June 1st, three Democratic lawmakers asked Kushner Companies to explain the nature of its relationship with these companies but so far they have not received a response.
The visa program is perfectly legal but ethics lawyer Richard Painter says using the president's son-in-law to lure investors to the program is unacceptable.
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: That's something we talked to people in the Bush White House, don't let other people use your name to raise money for investments.
GRIFFIN: Michael Gibson says he believes the Jared Kushner references are deliberate. He is an expert on helping foreign nationals invest in the EB-5 visa program and says Chinese investors, especially, look for projects they feel the U.S. government supports.
(On camera): Having the president's son-in-law name on a project, if I'm sitting in China I would perceive that as some level of security.
MICHAEL GIBSON, EB-5 INVESTMENT ADVISOR: What they want to make sure is that they get the green card, so if they see a public official associated with the project that gives them the impression that this project is safe enough for them to invest in terms of getting the green card.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Originally intended to spark development in rural and blighted urban areas, the EB-5 program has now morphed into a funding source for developers who can raise millions of dollars from foreigners as long as the investments create jobs. About 10,000 EB-5 visas are available to foreign investors and their families each year.
The developers get the cash and as for most investors, QWOS Web site states the whole family gets their green cards. It comes at a minimum price of a half a million dollars. And what better way to invest that money than with the company whose former CEO, Mr. Perfect, is the son- in-law of the president.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Miami.
HOWELL: Now to the U.S. city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The mayor there is sharing a message about a police shooting that killed an Australian woman. Earlier this weekend Mayor Betsy Hodges was shouted down at a press conference. Activists chanted "bye-bye Betsy," urging her to resign immediately.
Now she says that she's hoping the investigations continue swiftly. Justine Ruszczyk had called law enforcement to report a possible crime near her home last Saturday. Instead one of the responding officers shot and killed her. The city's police chief has already resigned over the incident.
The Baltimore Police Department is also facing public outrage and this is because of this body cam footage I want to show you here. It appears to show an officer planting evidence during a drug bust last January. The video is prompting the state's attorney to review some 100 cases involving at least one of the police officers seen in this clip.
Our Polo Sandoval tells us more.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If perception is reality, then this video does not help police community relations in Baltimore. Watch as the officer wearing the body camera appears to stuff a baggie of heroin into a can during a January drug bust. He and his fellow officers walk away, only to return a few seconds later. This time, the device's microphone is active.
UNIDENTIFIED BALTIMORE POLICE OFFICER: I'm going to check here.
SANDOVAL: After scanning over some debris, the officer finds what appears to be the same can containing the same drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED BALTIMORE POLICE OFFICER: Yo.
SANDOVAL: Was this officer intentionally planting evidence or recreating when and where the narcotics were initially found? An internal investigation will have to determine that, says Commissioner Kevin Davis. KEVIN DAVIS, COMMISSIONER, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: So if our
community thinks that there are police officers who are planting evidence during the course of their duty, that's certainly something that will keep me up at night.
[04:40:07] SANDOVAL: This is the latest controversy to rock a department struggling with growing public distrust.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: None of them are perfect. And there are going to be things that are going to happen that's going to create some concern.
SANDOVAL: In March, seven Baltimore investigators were arrested as part of a federal racketeering takedown. The group is accused of robbing people and defrauding their department. On Friday, two of the suspected officers pleaded guilty in court.
And police community relations reached a breaking point in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray while in custody. Residents clashed with police in the streets following the incident. All of the officers involved were eventually cleared of wrongdoing, causing further division between the community and police.
Cedric Alexander, a former top law enforcement official, believes bridging that gap requires action on both sides.
ALEXANDER: We cannot give up on each other. Police need community. Community needs police. And we have to find a way in order to continue to build that trust and build those relationships.
SANDOVAL: Baltimore may be taking a step in that direction with Commissioner Davis promising transparency by releasing the body camera video.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
HOWELL: Polo, thank you.
In Canada, a staircase built to avoid bureaucracy, it is teaching the city of Toronto a lesson. We'll explain.
HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell. Some strong thunderstorms to tell you about that roared across the central part of the U.S. on Saturday and wild fires, they're still plaguing regions in the west.
Let's bring in our meteorologist Karen Maginnis in the International Weather Center with more -- Karen.
[04:46:36] HOWELL: Karen Maginnis, thank you so much. Want to tell you now about this story in Canada. It's a drama over a
staircase that appears to have, well, reached its final step. The resident built them for a tiny fraction of what the city estimated.
Colin D'Mello with the CTV Network has the story.
COLIN D'MELLO, REPORTER, CTV NEWS: It's a popular shortcut to get to a popular Etobicoke park.
GAIL RUTHERFORD, AREA RESIDENT: Kids use it. The kids coming down to play soccer. People on bikes. We see lots of seniors.
D'MELLO: But before these steps were built, residents have to navigate a small hill with a few stones. Many complained it was dangerous.
RUTHERFORD: We had one of our garden members come down. She fell and broke her wrists.
D'MELLO: When the community asked how much it would cost to build a staircase, the response they got was surprising. $65,000 to $150,000 for just eight steps.
ADI ASTL, BUILT STAIRS: I thought they're going to put an escalator in here or something.
D'MELLO: So Adi Astl collected money and built his own staircase for $550.
ASTL: There was a person around here which is kind of a homeless person. I asked him to help me because I'm, you know, 73 years old, can't do this much anymore. So within 14 hours we built these steps.
D'MELLO: City inspectors were recently called in and Astl was told his stairs were unsafe. That the railing is unstable, the incline is uneven and that there's no foundation.
We showed the stairs to a home improvement contractor.
FRANK COHN, HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR: For an amateur who doesn't do this for a living, I think it's pretty decent looking.
D'MELLO: And people using the staircase say they don't have a problem with it.
DANA BEAMAN, AREA RESIDENT: Very comfortable. My daughter needs a new door. You want a job? My gosh, I think it's marvelous.
D'MELLO: The local city councilor agrees that the stairs won't stand the test of time. But he says it's not about the product but the point.
JUSTIN DI CIANO, TORONTO COUNCIL MEMBER: You could build a set of stairs that would last the test of time. And you could go to the private sector and they probably could design it for you for $5,000 or $10,000. This is just basically showing you what's possible.
D'MELLO: While the city works on a solution, the couple is working on putting up a sign.
ASTL: Just a warning. You know, it's there for you to use. However it's your own risk.
D'MELLO: All the while standing up to the city over a staircase.
HOWELL: Well, they're taking a step in the right direction. Colin D'Mello with the CTV Network there. Those stairs have been torn down, though, because officials say they are not safe. However, the new ones are expected to be ready in a few days and the mayor of Toronto is calling the original estimate absolutely ridiculous.
A pivotal moment for Allied Forces in World War II is now the focus of a major film. We'll take you to the London premiere of "Dunkirk" as NEWSROOM continues.
[04:53:08] HOWELL: Everyone's favorite Amazon warrior will be back for more. It's the sequel to this summer's blockbuster "Wonder Woman" and it is a go. The announcement was made at this weekend's San -- San Diego, rather, Comic-con. The news of this superhero sequel isn't really a surprise to many people. "Wonder Woman" has earned more than $750 million worldwide and will likely become this summer's highest grossing film.
And from superheroes to real-life heroes. Christopher Nolan's World War II film "Dunkirk" hit theaters this weekend to rave reviews.
CNN's Neil Curry was at the film premiere in London and has this report for us.
NEIL CURRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It became known as miracle of Dunkirk. The evacuation of hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops from the beaches of northern France during the early months of World War II.
KENNETH BRANAGH, ACTOR, "DUNKIRK": There are 400,000 men on this beach.
CURRY: Completely surrounded and under constant enemy bombardment, the lost of its army would have left Britain vulnerable to invasion by Adolf Hitler's Nazi forces.
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, DIRECTOR, "DUNKIRK": You're looking at 400,000 men trapped on this beach. Their backs the sea. The enemy is closing in on all sides. And they are faced with this choice between surrender, which would change the fate of history, or annihilation. And the fact that the story does not end in neither annihilation or surrender is what makes it one of the greatest stories in human history.
CURRY: Using iMax and 65 millimeter film, best seen on big screens Nolan has created an epic yet immersive story focusing on the struggle for survival but with experienced actors including Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh. But casting also embraced a different direction with a particularly famous face among the younger talents.
[04:55:02] MARK RYLANCE, ACTOR, "DUNKIRK": That's Harry Styles.
HARRY STYLES, ACTOR, "DUNKIRK": Chris has this amazing way of creating worlds around you where he really strips everything to your basic kind of natural instincts and things that are going on are actually happening around you, which, you know, helps you. We don't feel like you have to act that much.
CURRY: The film's royal premiere in London was a tale of two Harrys. The prince and the pop star. Prince Harry paraded his military medals, while Harry Styles was assigned autograph duties.
(On camera): Alongside the movie's human cast, the real stars of the story are the small boats like Moonstone here, which formed the flotilla of civilian skippers on a perilous voyage to France to help save a third of a million men trapped on the beaches.
RYLANCE: There was even a man who came across in their canoe, you know. And the sailors looked down from a big boat, and said, what the hell are you doing here? And he said, well, I got one seat in the back. That's the kind of -- that's the kind of heroes that moved me.
BRANAGH: There wasn't a superhero. It was a bunch of people in boats.
CURRY (voice-over): The "Dunkirk" spirit is often cited as an example of British courage in the face of adversity. It was even used by Brexiteers campaigning to leave the European Union. But for Director Nolan its relevance today goes beyond such comparisons.
NOLAN: For me, the "Dunkirk" spirit is really about what we can do as community rather than just as individuals. How the sum of what we can do together is much more than halves.
BRANAGH: You can practically see it from here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
CURRY: Neil Curry, CNN, London.
HOWELL: That wraps this hour of NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN center in Atlanta. The news continues here on CNN right after the break.