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G7 Day Two Agenda, Global Economy, Foreign Policy, Pandemic; Biden Heads to Geneva Next Week for Putin Meeting; Vaccines Offered to 18,000 Olympic Workers Next Week; Millions at Risk of Famine in Tigray Region; G7 Leaders Expected to Sign Landmark Health Declaration; Justice Department Watchdog to Investigate Handling of Leak Probes. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired June 12, 2021 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, welcome to our viewers around the world, I am Michael Holmes, thank you for your company.

Coming up next on CNN NEWSROOM, President Biden holding his first big meeting with allies, as he prepares for the showdown with Vladimir Putin who is speaking out ahead of the high-stakes summit.

The Tokyo Olympics offers vaccines to thousands of staff and volunteers ahead of the games as experts fear it is impossible to shut out the virus. We're live in Tokyo with the latest.

Plus, a dire warning about the hunger crisis in Ethiopia and signs that it will get worse.


HOLMES: Day two of the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, gets underway in just a few hours. On the agenda, the global economy, foreign policy and the pandemic. COVID-19 prevented these leaders from meeting in person for almost two years.

Downing Street says that the group on Saturday is expected to sign a Carbis Bay declaration aimed at preventing another devastating pandemic. The G7 is unlike any other international forum. For U.S. President Joe Biden, it is his first real chance to reassert American ideals and leadership into the group. Other leaders have welcomed his presence. We get more now from CNN's Kaitlan Collins.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Face-to-face diplomacy is back as President Biden surrounded himself with other world leaders at the G7 summit. After being forced to meet remotely for a year, it was the first gathering of the four leaders since the COVID-19 pandemic.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is genuinely wonderful to see everybody in person. I can't tell you what a difference it makes.

COLLINS (voice-over): Biden arrive intent on restoring the traditional alliances that his predecessor often undermined. Some of those allies are already noting the difference in Biden and his predecessor including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: Being able to meet Joe Biden is obviously important because he stands to the commitment to multilateralism, which we were missing in recent years.

COLLINS (voice-over): Merkel, had a notoriously fraught relationship with Donald Trump, summed up by this 2018 photo of Merkel standing over Trump, who had his arms crossed, as he refused to sign the joint agreement with other G7 leaders.

TRUMP: We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing and that ends.

COLLINS (voice-over): Even Trump's allies around the world appeared to welcome the change in U.S. leadership.

JOHNSON: It's wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and to Joe Biden. It's fantastic. He's a breath of fresh air, a lot of things, they want to do together.

COLLINS (voice-over): It remains to be seen how Biden's diplomatic outreach changes the substance of those relationships. But tonight, the G7 leaders were joined at dinner by Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Prince William in the queen's first visit with world leaders since the pandemic.

Earlier today, another royal connection as the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and First Lady Jill Biden visited a school together.

CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: I want to say a personal thank you and welcome to you, Dr. Biden.

COLLINS (voice-over): Biden will visit the queen at Windsor Castle on Sunday before ending his trip with a high-stakes summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

QUESTION: Mr. President, what's your message to Putin?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll tell you after I deliver it.

COLLINS: Russian President Putin later did an interview with NBC News that lasted for 90 minutes. In a small excerpt of that interview that CNN saw, you saw Putin comparing Trump to Biden, saying, praising essentially Trump at length while saying that Biden is someone who has been in public life for several decades.

Of course, Putin is also someone who has been in public life for several decades as well. But really setting the stage for that meeting in Geneva by saying he also believes that U.S.-Russia relationships are at their lowest point that they have been in years. That is something that the White House has readily acknowledged.

Of course, the question is how those two leaders handle it when they come face-to-face for the first time since Biden has taken office -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, traveling with the president in Cornwall.


HOLMES: Mr. Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin comes at the tail end of his week-long trip and after he attends the NATO summit in Brussels. Neither Russia nor the U.S. expecting any momentous developments from that summit. But as the Russian leader admits, relations between Washington and Moscow are badly strained.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years.



HOLMES: It is still not clear if the two leaders will hold a joint news conference after they meet. The latest now from CNN's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russians are going there, they say, to explain the situation, not to negotiate it, not to discuss it. I put it to Dmitry Peskov, who's Vladimir Putin's spokesman, that the fact that there wasn't going to be a joint news conference at the end of the summit, which would be usual, and which is something the Russians say that they wanted initially, when they set out on this journey toward developing this summit.

It was a major setback for Russia because one of the reasons the Russians wanted this summit was to show Vladimir Putin on the international stage, sharing a platform with the U.S. President. But the Kremlin pushed back on that, saying that was not the reason that they were having this summit at all.

Take a listen to what Dmitry Peskov had to say.


DMITRY PESKOV, PUTIN SPOKESPERSON: The main reason for him is a poor state relationship between our two countries and a critical level of this relationship that demands -- that demands a summit between our two countries because this is the only way to -- this is the only way to arrange an evaluation of the situation in our relationship to prevent further, further degradation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHANCE: Meanwhile, Dmitry Peskov saying that, basically, the

relationship is bad and the summit is the only way really to start the process of addressing that. There is a list as long as your arm when it comes to full issues between the United States and Russia.

Whether it's the military (ph) (INAUDIBLE) in Ukraine, cyberattacks against the United States; whether it's the crackdown on democracy here and the crackdown on dissidents here.

But on none of those issues, the sense I got from Dmitry Peskov there, is Vladimir Putin going to the summit, prepared to back down. In his words, don't expect any breakthroughs in this summit.


HOLMES: CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, joining me now from the summit site in Carbis Bay.

We'll talk Putin in a minute, but I want to ask you about something, Joe Biden, raising these issues of democracy versus what is growing autocracy around the world, including Europe.

How do you think that message is resonating in the arena of the G7 as, frankly, autocracy is, authoritarianism is on rise around the world?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think Angela Merkel, really, spoke to that and we heard it in Kaitlan Collins' report there, that he is -- embodies the multilateralism that the United States has, historically, brought to the world in the post World War II era.

I think it certainly resonates We saw Emmanuel Macron have a meeting with President Biden yesterday, talking to him about support for military operations in the Sahel and in Africa. Obviously, that has repercussions and implications for migration into Europe.

So, there is still a real counting on the United States to get involved in issues that are not directly threatening them. And I think that is part of this appeal that Biden has, that he brings back the old-style America, if you will, not the new style Trumpism.

So, he, in that way, embodies that part of the message, that we, as democracies, need to stand up for the things that democracies value, like helping migrants, whether on the borders of the United States or whether on the borders of Europe.

These are still issues that our countries need to deal with. And if we don't deal with them, then we open the door for autocracies to walk through. And I think it was Justin Trudeau who mentioned in his speech yesterday, in the G7, that the opportunities of -- or rather what autocracies do is raise divisions and undermine the efforts of countries like the G7.

So, I think, definitely, Biden's message resonates.

But how does it actually grow beyond this group of nations that already subscribe to it?

You know, they are glad to have the leader back who speaks their game.

But will it actually change the game globally?

Will it impact on China?

Will it impact on Russia?

And one of the things they're doing here is this billion-dollar vaccines for poorer developing nations, an effort to thwart China and Russia's so-called vaccine diplomacy.

But how do you really undermine the message of authoritarians?

What do you have to be successful and stimulate economies?


ROBERTSON: I think that was also something that Justin Trudeau pointed to yesterday and something also that Biden's talked about, the G7 has talked about, is stimulate the economy, stimulate the economic growth, continue with spending packages to get out of -- government spending packages to get out of the post pandemic period.

And that way, you don't leave space for populists and autocracies to grow and fester in society.

HOLMES: Yes, good point, and we've touched on the G7 in terms of its size. It is a much smaller as a club than the G20, for example.

Is that a good or a bad thing in terms of its relevance globally today, its power for substantive change as opposed to photo ops and words versus actions?

ROBERTSON: Certainly it enhances their power to develop this core message about democracies. Certainly it develops their power to do things that will spread that message.

As we see, at the U.N. Security Council for example, where both China and Russia are present, it's still a small grouping. But when those nations are around the table with others, they will block moves that democratic nations would consider the right moves, whether it is on Syria or on other issues.

And the same within the G20, trying to get a joint communique that Russia and China will sign up to, that is in keeping with the philosophies of the democratic nations, that's much harder.

So in that way, the G7 still has a relevance. It may not punch with the weight that it once did but this comes at Biden's point, that is the moment in history to stand up for the value of democracies; otherwise, we risk losing them.

HOLMES: Before we wrap up, going back to the Biden-Putin meeting, the Kremlin spokesperson we heard earlier saying that the reason for Putin going is to, quote, "address the poor state of the relationship" between the two countries, also no plans for a joint news conference.

I'm curious, optics wise, if there isn't a joint new conference, what does that signify about the messaging about the relationship?

ROBERTSON: I think that would signify that there is not anything, particularly joint, that they can agree to say publicly that would, potentially, undermine the audiences at home. I think that's what it speaks to.

How tough is the language behind the scenes?

Well, the White House spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said that it's left the door open, that it's possible that Biden could talk to Putin about the issue of Alexei Navalny and Putin's crushing of democracy and democratic opposition within Russia.

There's a possibility that could come up. But when Putin and his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, spoke of a deterioration in relations and this is why we should have a meeting, it seems to rather overlook the obvious, from Biden's perspective, that the deterioration has come at the hands of Russia building up troops on the border of Ukraine, supporting the Belarus president in essentially stealing an election in the eyes of many.

So all of these topics, are going to be hard behind the scenes. If there's nothing, really, that they can both jointly sell at home, that makes sense for them to not have a press conference there and face those awkward questions.

HOLMES: Yes, worth noting, Vladimir Putin onto his fifth U.S. president, too. So he knows the game. Nic Robertson at the summit site in Cardinals Bay, appreciate it, good to see you, my friend.

When we come back after the break, the Tokyo Olympic Games approaching quickly. Organizers trying to quell coronavirus fears by offering vaccines -- but only to certain people. We tell you who and how many.

Also, Brazil just days away from hosting the Copa America tournament, even though a majority of its citizens don't want it. We explain that as well after the break.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking French).

HOLMES (voice-over): What you hear there are the fans, cheering wildly at the French Open, when they found out they were allowed to stay past 11 pm COVID curfew, in order to finish watching the semifinal between superstars Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.

Previously spectators were forced to leave mid-match, if that happened, in order to get home before the curfew. Djokovic managed to dethrone the King of Clay in the match, which is no mean feat at Roland Garros, which Rafa Nadal seems to own.

After dropping the first set of the match, the Serbian came back, rallying for the win. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men's singles final on Sunday.

The women's singles gets underway in the hours ahead. Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will face off against Czech Barbora Krejcikova.

There are just 41 days until the Tokyo Olympics and the president of the Olympic organizing committee says they will give shots to 18,000 people who are working closely with athletes.

Overall, Japan's vaccine rollout has been going very slowly. According to the tracking group Our World in Data, Japan has given almost 21.5 million doses so far, a little more than 12.5 percent of the country's population. Selina Wang, joining me from Tokyo.

These 18,000 people coming into contact with athletes will get vaccinated.

How will that work?

Will it alleviate some of the concerns?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, Japan is already vaccinating its own Olympic athletes, but with only 4 percent of the population fully vaccinated, the big question has been around the Olympics staff and workers. Take a listen to what the president of Tokyo 2020 had to say about this.


SEIKO HASHIMOTO, TOKYO 2020 PRESIDENT (through translator): We expect those with frequent contact with athletes to be Olympic Village staff, national Olympic and national Paralympic committee staff, assistants, operation staff, airport staff, antidoping staff and others.

Volunteers and contractors will be eligible. They will get their first dose by the end of June and, after 3 weeks, get their second dose before the games.


WANG: But it's unclear how many volunteers and staff would be included in this. For instance, they are 70,000 Tokyo Olympic volunteers, even after 10,000 already quit. They tell me they've been given little more than cloth masks and hand sanitizer for protection and they've been asked to take public transport between their homes and Olympic venues.

HOLMES: So few Japanese citizens fully vaccinated, what are the concerns about that and also about the variant risk?

WANG: Michael, variants are a huge concern among medical experts, even though you've seen infections come down in Japan. They are still reporting a few thousand per day. The concern isn't just the further spread of other variants here in Japan but all around the world, when all of these participants go back to their home countries.

Even the Tokyo Olympics' own coronavirus advisor said it is impossible to shut out COVID-19 and the variants and stressed the importance of mitigation measures. So we know these athletes will be tracked and traced by GPS, be regularly tested as well as social distancing themselves.


WANG: But many medical experts say it's just impossible to keep a completely safe bubble. Even without foreign spectators, you still have some 90,000 people flying in from over 200 countries, all coming into Japan, which has been shut off for most of the pandemic.

HOLMES: Selina, thank, you Selina Wang in Tokyo.

After a year's delay because of the pandemic, the Euro 2020 football tournament finally kicking off, Italy defeating Turkey 3-0 in the opening match on Friday.

Around 16,000 fans in Rome's Stadio Olympico. The tournament, spread out across the entire continent, 24 teams will play in 11 cities over the next month. The final set for Wembley Stadium July 11th.

And Brazil is struggling to contain its surging pandemic, as it prepares to host Copa America, South America's largest football tournament. But for the 3rd straight day, its health ministry is reporting more than 85,000 new cases and over 2,000 new deaths. Stefano Pozzebon explaining how Brazilians are reacting.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the pitch, players run drills prepping for the upcoming Copa America match openers, insulated from the political noise surrounding them while off the pitch, Brazil gears up its last-minute host amidst turmoil over the decision to bring the 10-nation football club to a country with the second highest reported coronavirus death toll in the world.

Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, is defending his decision to take on the tournament after the regional host was stripped of hosting rights due to the ongoing unrest in Colombia and a surge in coronavirus cases in Argentina.

JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been saying I am sorry for the deaths but we have to live.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Bolsonaro's sentiment, at least where hosting the Copa America is concerned, is not shared by a majority of Brazilians. An XP/IPESE poll revealing roughly two-thirds of Brazilians, 64 percent, are against their country hosting the cup with only 29 percent in favor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I believe it was a mistake to bring the Copa America because the president is completely down to COVID and I believe it would've better if we focused on public health rather than sport right now.

POZZEBON (voice-over): The last-minute decision by the South American Football Confederation, Conmebol, to move the tournament to Brazil, where close to 500,000 people have died from COVID-19, is striking such a nerve that opponents took the measures to the Brazilian supreme court earlier this week, hoping to bring it to a halt, a move that, ultimately, failed, paving the way for the matches to get underway in earnest on Sunday.

With Brazilian officials downplaying fears from health experts, the same influx of thousands of fans and players from surrounding countries will exacerbate the already high toll of COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): With proper sanitary control, I don't see any additional risk due to this tournament.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Total a player boycott which had been growing louder in recent weeks has for the most part fallen silent.

For now, it appears fans across the globe will get see whether football legend Lionel Messi can help bring the Argentine national team out of a 28-year international trophy drought or if another team by the reigning South American champions, Brazil, led by fan favorite Neymar, can claim the title in a nation where the COVID-19 pandemic rages on -- Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Bogota.


HOLMES: Ravaged first by war and atrocities, now the U.N. says that millions in Ethiopia's Tigray region are at risk of starvation. Coming up, what the World Food Programme says must be done right now.

And, later, U.S. Democrats want answers from former attorney general William Barr as an investigation is launched into Donald Trump's targeting of political foes.






TOMMY THOMPSON, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: We find ourselves in an absolute crisis in Tigray with the situation there and catastrophic security situation through which people have already begun to die. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: A warning from the World Food Programme's emergency coordinator about food insecurity and famine in Ethiopia's wartorn Tigray region. He's calling for urgent action to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. supervising editor for Africa, Stephanie Busari, with more on that.


STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN.COM SUPERVISING EDITOR, AFRICA: (INAUDIBLE) and other aid groups are warning that more than 350,000 people in Ethiopia's conflict-ravaged Tigray region are experiencing famine conditions.

Over 60 percent of the population, more than 5.5 million people, were found to have high levels of acute food insecurity in Tigray and neighboring zones of Amhara and Afar.

Of these 2 million are emergency levels of acute food insecurity and, without urgent action, the U.N. warns could quickly slide into starvation. The situation has been caused by conflict and is expected to worsen in coming months, particularly in Tigray, with over 400,000 people projected to face catastrophic food conditions without urgent aid.

Last month, CNN exclusively reported that Eritrean troops were coordinating with Ethiopian forces to cut off critical aid routes. A CNN team traveling through the Tigray's central zone witnessed Eritrean soldiers, some disguising themselves in old Ethiopian military uniforms, blocking aid to starving populations.

Fighting between Ethiopian government troops and a region's former ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, the TPLF, broke out in November 2020. Troops from neighboring Eritrea later joined the conflict in support of Ethiopian government.

The government of Ethiopia has denied that there are severe food shortages in the country -- Stephanie Busari, CNN, Lagos.


HOLMES: Still to come, the British royal family out in full force at the G7 summit. How they are welcoming leaders of the world's most powerful democracies.

Also, two artists have an important message for G7 leaders. What they hope to achieve with this disturbing sculpture inspired by America's Mt. Rushmore.





HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world, I'm Michael Holmes, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. More now on our top story, the G7 summit, in Cornwall, England.

In just a few hours, the leaders of the world's wealthiest democracies will resume in-person talks, about how to tackle some of the most pressing global issues. The COVID crisis, obviously, a top priority. They're expected to sign an agreement called the Carbis Bay declaration, vowing to take steps to prevent a future pandemic.

After that family photo was taken on Friday, the leaders got down to business, discussing the global economy and pledging to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to low-income countries.

Now this year's G7 has also been a bit of a royal affair. The Duchess of Cambridge toured a school with the U.S. First Lady Jill Biden. And three generations of senior royals, including Her Majesty, attended a reception with world leaders. Now all of this coming as the queen is set to celebrate her official birthday in the hours ahead. Here's CNN's Max Foster.


MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The queen is not a political leader, so she's less divisive. Add to that her record as the world's longest serving head of state and she earns her position in the center of the family photo.

The royals were out in force in Cornwall on Friday, starting with a joint visit to a school by the Duchess of Cambridge; the first lady herself an educator.




FOSTER (voice-over): The children keen to show off their pets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we have Brian (ph) and -- absolutely.

FOSTER (voice-over): And the duchess keen to speak to her pet cause, her children's well-being during a discussion with British and American learning experts.

DR. BIDEN: Early childhood education is so important.

CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: Best investment for our future, health and happiness lies in the first years of life.

FOSTER (voice-over): Jill Biden already has royal connections. She's worked with Prince Harry for years on veterans' issues. The duchess was asked about Harry and Meghan's new baby, Lilibet.

CATHERINE: Oh, I wish her all the very best. I cannot wait to meet her because we have not yet met her. So hopefully that will be soon.


CATHERINE: No, haven't met.

FOSTER (voice-over): Meanwhile, the first lady was asked if she asked the duchess for any advice on meeting the queen.

DR. BIDEN: No, I didn't. We've been busy.

Were you not in that room?


DR. BIDEN: We were talking education.

FOSTER (voice-over): In the evening, at a reception for G7 leaders, the duchess joined her husband. This is Britain deploying its soft power, government-speak for a diplomatic charm offensive. They joined the queen there. She rarely travels this far from Windsor for engagements these days.

But she dutifully travels when requested by ministers. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, alongside the queen, as they are for all the big events these days, all part of the long-term royal transition process.

But Charles held his own spin-off meeting about private sector efforts to tackle climate change, this ahead of the U.N. climate change conference, which will also be held in the U.K. later this year.

After so much focus on tensions within the royal family, this was an opportunity for the royals remaining in the U.K. to show a united front and reassert themselves on the world stage -- Max Foster, CNN.


HOLMES: Britain's Prince Charles says he hopes the world can come together to address climate change with the same vigor it has focused on combating COVID-19. The Prince of Wales has long championed environmental causes and, in a speech to the G7 on Friday, he stressed the urgency of government and the private sector leading the way to control global warming.


CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: The fight against this terrible pandemic provides, if ever one was needed, a crystal clear example of the scale and sheer speed at which the global community can tackle crises when we combine political will with business ingenuity and public mobilization.

(INAUDIBLE) we are doing it for the pandemic.


PRINCE CHARLES: So if you don't mine me saying so, we must also do it for the planet.


HOLMES: Near the summit site, two artists are using an unconventional method to send their environmental message to G7 leaders. CNN's Anna Stewart explains the meaning of Mt. Recyclemore.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From old telephones and tablets, to computer keyboards and circuit boards, this is Mt. Recyclemore, a take on the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial in the U.S. state of South Dakota.

Instead of former U.S. presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, this sculpture depicts the G7 leaders attending this year's summit.

Erected near the site of the summit in Cornwall, England, for leaders to see. Artists Joe Rush and Alex Wreckage created the artwork from discarded electronics to send a clear message to world leaders about the environmental problems of electronic waste.

JOE RUSH, ARTIST: Thankfully, it is too late to say you've got to work together on this one. You've got to build it into the way we do things so we can recycle things that we can repair things and we don't just waste things.

STEWART (voice-over): More than 53 millions tons of electronic waste were produced globally in 2019. And that number is expected to more than double by the year 2050 according to the U.N., making it the fastest growing type of waste polluting our planet.

When it's not recycled, ewaste can lead to toxic chemicals seeping into the Earth's soil and water. These organizers say it's about time something is done about the problem on the global scale.

RUSH: What I'd like them to do, the leaders, the G7 conference, is I'd like them all to talk to each other and work out a plan that isn't just shifting the problem from one country to another, you know, but actually use a plan that we all work on together, which is how to deal with this waste.

STEWART (voice-over): It may be cool to look at it's not just art or a tourist attraction; it is a pile of junk that is a threat to the environment.

ALEX WRECKAGE, ARTIST: This is just the perfect opportunity. And it's the perfect place as well to just shove it in their face.


WRECKAGE: You know, the world leaders, you know, you need to get your act together, you know. We all do.

STEWART (voice-over): Anna Stewart, CNN. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Pretty good.

Other activists are also making their point about the environment and they're just as creative. They demonstrated outside the G7 summit dressed as giant Pikachus.

The people wearing those costumes are members of the group No Coal Japan. They're calling on the Japanese government to stop burning coal by 2030.

And another big concern for those protesting at the G7, COVID-19 vaccines. Some demonstrators dressing up in big head costumes, cartoonish imitations of the G7 leaders. They tussled with a giant syringe on a Cornish beach to draw attention to their cause.

The ones behind this are Oxfam and The People's Vaccine Alliance, who hope world leaders will back patient -- patent waivers for the vaccines.


ANNA MARRIOTT, HEALTH POLICY MANAGER, OXFAM: The stunt here today is showing that President Biden and President Macron have agreed to waive the intellectual property rules on these vaccines so that more can be made.

Whilst the other G7 leaders are currently blocking that achievement, that over 100 developing countries are calling for, they want the rights and the recipes for these vaccines, so that they can ramp up production and protect their populations. And we need the G7 leaders to, urgently, back that agreement.


HOLMES: Other activists raising the issue of vaccine justice with these giant floating blimps that somewhat resembled U.S. President Joe Biden and British prime minister Boris Johnson. It's part of an effort to get more vaccine deliveries to poorer countries.

Here in the United States, we are learning more about former attorney general William Barr's role in the Trump administration's targeting of Democratic members of Congress. companies,

Sources say Barr pushed investigators to finish probes that included secret subpoenas on House Democrats perceived to be Trump's political enemies. Now lawmakers want to hear directly from William Barr and his predecessor, Jeff Sessions. CNN's Jessica Schneider with details.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Democrats are demanding former attorneys general Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr testify under oath after revelations of secret FBI subpoenas served on apple to obtain metadata for more 100 accounts, according to a source.

The Justice Department's inspector general is initiating its own review of what amount to a roundup of non-content records from at least two of former President Trump's most outspoken adversaries, now chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, and committee member Eric Swalwell.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I can't go into who received these subpoenas or whose records were sought.


SCHIFF: I can't say that it was extraordinarily broad, people having nothing to do with the intelligence matters that are at least being reported on. It just shows what a broad fishing expedition it was.

SCHNEIDER: CNN has learned members of the committee plus staff were part of the dragnet but also family members, even one minor. People who had no connection to the Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, like Schiff's personal office staff, were also caught up in the collection.

"The New York Times" reported the investigation was part of a leak hunt for whomever divulged information about contacts between Trump associates and Russia at the height of the Russia probe.

A source tells CNN officials thought the leak investigation would likely end without charges. But when attorney general Bill Barr took over at the Justice Department, Barr pushed to complete leak probes, even bringing in a prosecutor from New Jersey.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEES: I hope Trump supporters who fear Big Brother see that Donald Trump was the biggest brother we've ever seen in our country, who did weaponize this to go all the way down the stack into the private communications of people he perceived as political opponents.

SCHNEIDER: President Trump repeatedly made it clear he wanted the DOJ to investigate leaks and Congressman Schiff.

TRUMP: I've actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks.

I think it was leaks from the Intelligence Committee, House version, and I think that they leaked it. I think probably Schiff leaked it.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Attorney General Barr notably evaded questions about Trump's push from then Senator Kamala Harris during a hearing in May 2019.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Attorney General Barr, has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?


HARRIS: Yes or no?

BARR: Could you repeat that question?

HARRIS: I will repeat it.

Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone, yes or no, please, sir?

BARR: The president or anybody else?

HARRIS: Seems you would remember something like that and be able to tell us.

BARR: Yes. But I'm trying to grapple with the word, suggest.

SCHNEIDER: Still, today Barr told "Politico" that, while he was attorney general beginning in 2019, he was, quote, "not aware of any congressman's records being sought in a leak case," and added that he was never encouraged to target Democratic lawmakers, saying, "Trump was not aware of who we were looking at in any of the cases."

SCHNEIDER: Barr did not become attorney general until 2019. That is after those secret subpoenas for data from Congressmen Schiff and Swalwell were issued. These subpoenas were issued when Jeff Sessions was attorney general.

But we were told by a source that Sessions was not involved in any subpoenas related to the House committee since he had broadly recused himself from any matters involving Russia -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


I'm Michael Holmes, thank you for spending part of your day with me, "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" starts after this short break.