Return to Transcripts main page


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; Protesters Calling for Stronger Action on Climate Change; Justice Department Watchdog to Investigate Handling of Leak Probes; Summer Travelers Navigate Europe's Patchwork COVID-19 Rules. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 12, 2021 - 03:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thank you so much for joining us. You are watching a special edition of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier in Falmouth, England, our picturesque corner of the Cornish coast, where world leaders, not far from here, are getting set for day 2 of the G7 summit.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Michael Holmes in Atlanta. Ahead this hour, while those G7 leaders address foreign policies on Saturday, we're hearing from Vladimir Putin right before the Russian president goes face to face with Joe Biden. What he has to say about Russia's relationship with the U.S.

Plus, Prince Charles on the global effort needed to combat climate change. He says there is a blueprint for that.


CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: We are doing it for the pandemic. So if you don't mind me saying so, we must also do it for the planet.



VANIER: So day 2 of the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, gets underway in just a few hours. On the agenda today, the global economy, foreign policy and the pandemic. COVID-19 prevented these leaders from meeting in person for almost two years.

Downing Street says the group on Saturday is expected to sign what is known as the Carbis Bay Declaration, aimed at preventing another devastating pandemic. The G7 is unlike any international forum.

For U.S. President Joe Biden, it is his first real chance to reassert American ideals and leadership into this group. Other leaders have openly welcomed his presence. CNN's Phil Mattingly has those details.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Here we go, everybody.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the world's most powerful democracies, a show of unity on the world stage.

JOHNSON: It is genuinely wonderful to see everybody in person.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Smiles and warmth at the start of the G7 summit, a notable departure from the prior four years, driven by one clear difference -- the U.S. president. President Biden for decades a key figure in U.S. foreign policy now leading it himself.

JOHNSON: He's a breath of fresh air. A lot of things they want to do together.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I am of course happy the American president is present here. Being able to meet Joe Biden is obviously important because he stands for the commitment to multilateralism which we were missing in recent years.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): With a clearly stated goal to leverage the strength of the seven largest economies to face down challenges around the globe and reinvigorate alliances that faced severe tests. From the real time challenge of the pandemic, where Biden's pledge to donate 500 million vaccine doses to low and middle income countries turned today to a pledge of 1 billion doses from the entire G7...

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): -- to laying out the economic road map for a post-pandemic world, a driving force for Biden's sweeping domestic agenda.

BIDEN: Not just to build back but build back better.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): That all-too familiar phrase echoing across the Atlantic.

JOHNSON: We need to make sure, as we recover, we level up across our societies and we build back better.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): A sign of unity that underscores the embrace of the new U.S. leader, something Biden's top advisors view as a crucial element just days before a critical sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two now not scheduled to hold a joint conference, officials say, but Biden advisers have been clear, they expect the president to deliver his own clear and firm message.

As to what will that be exactly?

BIDEN: I'll tell you after I deliver it. MATTINGLY: And obviously despite more meetings with international leaders at least from the West, all eyes are most certainly going to be on Geneva in a couple of days, when President Biden does meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It's important to know everything's not happening in isolation. The G7 meeting, the U.S.-E.U. meeting, the NATO summit, all of these are very, very consciously planned in advance of that meeting for President Biden to really, at least in the words of his advisers, show the strength of the Western democracies as he heads into that meeting with President Putin.

Now when his officials are clear at this point, they don't expect any major deliverables or outcomes from that meeting with President Putin. You've seen both leaders kind of ramp up the stakes rhetorically over the course of the last several days.

But what White House officials do want, they say it repeatedly, they want some level of stability, some level of predictability.

Essentially, while they're certainly going to raise issues that President Putin won't like and probably vice versa as well, what they most want to come out of the meeting with is some level of understanding about where the relationship is and where it can go from here.


MATTINGLY: And potentially where they can actually work together on areas of mutual interest.

Whether that happens, well, that obviously is an open question -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, Falmouth, England.


VANIER: And CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins us now from the summit site in Carbis Bay.

Nic, for Joe Biden, the U.S. President, this summit as much as anything and about any of the specifics -- pandemic, health, the economic recovery -- as much as anything, this summit is about rallying team West, team democracy and retaking the place that the U.S. President often has within that group of countries.

Judging by yesterday, Nic, it seems like it's not a big lift for Joe Biden?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It isn't. There's a lot of willing partners; Boris Johnson calling him a breath of fresh air; Angela Merkel saying that it is good to have him back because he stands for multilateralism.

You know, the world order, post World War II for democracies, was built around, constructed around an American leadership. It was absent during President Trump and, under President Biden, it appears to be returning.

So yes, he is preaching to the choir, as they say, that this audience he has here already agree with him on many things. Team democracy, yes, that is very much how President Biden wants to see it, to promote the values of democracy against autocracies.

They are careful to frame this sort of rallying of countries that support the United States, not to frame it as "choose us and what we are saying against China."

They're saying, precisely, precisely that, that this is about our values and showing the world that there is a set of values that are not autocratic values that trample on human rights and abuse global trade practices.

And this is what we should stand up for. There is going to be differences in the detail, of course. We know that Angela Merkel and President Biden differ over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. That is a deep difference and that is an ongoing rankle between the 2 countries.

And also, how to build back better, which is one of the themes today. The United States is central at driving this along and has suggested that there can be waivers on the patents for pharmaceutical companies to encourage to get enough vaccines to poorer nations.

European countries have a slightly different view on that. So, there's devil in the detail but on the broad-brush strokes, you're absolutely right. What is a potentially difficult lift is a relatively light one for him?

VANIER: Joe Biden wants to rally this team of democracies so that they can stand alongside the U.S. in its global rivalry against China, the other superpower.

How will we know if he has achieved that specific goal?

ROBERTSON: I think the language and the strength of language that comes out in the final communique -- there are things that are going to be in the final communique about global corporate tax, about uplifting health around the planet, about preparing and offsetting the potential for another pandemic in the future.

But I think when we look at the wording of what's agreed over China, that's where we're going to see how strong the alignment is and what style that wording takes. I don't think it is going to be competitive in styling but what President Biden is going to look for is to see real support in standing up for the values of human rights.

I mean, he set that out in his initial foreign policy speech, way back in February, not long after he became president. He sets a lot of store in protecting human rights and values. And he's going to want to see relatively strong language coming out of the summit that these other leaders agree with him, that China's treatment of the Uyghurs is not only a human rights violation, but it is an unfair trade practice that undermines, you know, the economies of all these different G7 leaders.


Quite simply because, if you can employ Uyghurs and essentially forced labor, you're getting cheap labor and you're competing unfairly in the global economic market.

So let's look at the communique and see how strong the language is that these leaders are saying, that they will condemn this action but not only condemn it but they will have a set of measures -- sanctions may be too strong of a word -- but a set of measures that, when they see human rights violation, these will automatically trigger this set of measures.


VANIER: Absolutely, we will be looking out for that language. Sometimes in these meeting, Nic, as you know, it's easy for the general public to tune out if there isn't something concrete at the end of it. We'll look out for that. Nic Robertson, thank you very much. We'll speak to you in the next hour.

It wasn't that long ago the G7 was actually the G8, before Russia got suspended. Now Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is set to meet with his U.S. counterpart next week and it will be their first meeting since Joe Biden became U.S. President.

Mr. Putin tells NBC News that he's looking forward to working with Joe Biden and that Mr. Biden is nothing like his predecessor.


KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You once described Trump as a bright person, talented.

How would you describe President Biden?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Even now, I believe that former U.S. president, Mr. Trump, is an extraordinary individual, talented individual. Otherwise, he would not have become U.S. president.

He's a colorful individual. You may like him or not. And he did not come from the U.S. establishment. He had not been part of big-time politics before. Some like it, some don't like it, but that is a fact.

President Biden, of course, is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He's spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics. Just think of the number of years he spent in the Senate. A different kind of person.

It is my great hope that, yes, there is some advantages, some disadvantages. But there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting U.S. President.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: We're expecting Mr. Biden to bring up the recent cyberattacks,

Russia's crackdown on dissidents and its actions in Ukraine during their upcoming summit. The Russian leader had this to say about the state of his country's relations with the U.S.


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


VANIER: The Kremlin spokesman told us that a face-to-face meeting is key because relationships between the two countries are now so poor. CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow for us.


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.


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.


VANIER: With me now, Dan Stevens, a professor at the University of Exeter's College of Social Sciences and International Studies.

Thank you for being with us this morning. What is interesting about the way this has all been set up for Joe Biden -- and of course, this is no accident -- is he sees Vladimir Putin as one of his biggest foes on the international stage.

In a few days but, before that, he will have taken the time to rally the troops, rally the Western team behind him.

How will we know if that has worked and if that has put wind in his sails and if that allows come to that discussion with Putin in a position of force?

DAN STEVENS, COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF EXETER: As always, we will need to read between the lines of whatever communique comes out of this series of meetings. So the strength of that will tell us something.


STEVENS: And then, I think the focus here is what seems to be more on China than Russia, as far as Biden is concerned. So I think it will be hard to see tangible outcomes in terms of Russia, where there is already quite a united front in terms of how Putin is seen, how Russia's behavior is seen and so on.

The only tensions here in the relationship with the G7 is some of the economic ties with Russia on how people view the natural gas pipeline.

VANIER: You see the biggest prize for Joe Biden, rallying the troops against China?

STEVENS: I think so. America and Biden seem much more focused. The broad picture here is in demonstrating American leadership, reasserting American leadership of the West, of the G7 and this multilateral approach. Not going it alone, trusting other democracies, getting behind them.

I think there, the goal is much clearer. And the tensions with China are much broader. We can certainly look there for, I think, a stronger communique. What Biden seems to do there is to negotiate with China, from this position of strength.

He not only has got unusually but (INAUDIBLE) consensus on this one, a rare vote in the Senate for a common approach to China. The Republicans and Democrats actually broadly agree on. But to get these other nations behind him, more than 50 percent of the world's GDP and saying, OK, this is not America alone, I've got the backing of all these other countries, too, and now you need to cooperate.

VANIER: Building these coalitions, nurturing these alliances, we see some of that -- and some of it plays out in public. Some of it is in the language, of the press conferences or the communiques that are put out. A lot of it happens behind closed doors and we aren't privy to it.

What is the most important thing that happens that we don't see at those meetings?

STEVENS: I think the most -- we do, kind, of see this but the most important thing seems to be, first off -- unfortunately, what happens before the meeting --


STEVENS: Yes, and there is a lot of this, as we know has happened beforehand and then we get to see the outcome --

VANIER: Which is why we go into this meeting, this one and we already know before the meeting, that they will announce 1 billion doses of vaccines donated, a tax deal on multinational corporations. It's all the prep that gets done before.

STEVENS: Yes, so what becomes very important then is these personal relationships, these bilateral meetings. So America aside, we have bilateral meetings going on right now, with the E.U. and Boris Johnson, Johnson and Emmanuel Macron.

We will get leaks, probably, but we won't be there. We won't see exactly what's said. We'll hear probably 2 sides of the same story. That's what's really important here. We only get snippets of it. And over time, we may learn more.

VANIER: Any highlights from day one?

STEVENS: The highlights, I think, were, really, the photo opportunity, family photos, I think, interestingly, for people who are interested in international relations, the body language. Everyone focuses on the lunch with the E.U. five, and then later on, the Macron-Biden hug or --


VANIER: Let's look at the picture and we have that prepped for you, because it struck me as well. We need to wrap this up and we'll talk to you next hour but I want our viewers to see what you're talking about.

The body language, sometimes, speaks volumes. Macron, essentially, man-handling Joe Biden. He's gotten used to manhandling U.S. Presidents before. He did something similar with Trump.

STEVENS: Yes, he's good at this. A very different character from someone like Merkel or even Draghi from -- the Italian leader. You see there, they're not the same kind of character. And he's doing this, there's a purpose behind this --

VANIER: It's very, very deliberate. Dan, we'll talk more in an hour. Thank you again.

With that, I'll toss it back to my friend and colleague, Michael Holmes, who is waiting for us in Atlanta with the news from everywhere else in the world -- Michael.

HOLMES: Thank you very much, Cyril, fascinating interview. We'll check in with you in just a little bit.

Meanwhile, we'll take a quick break. When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, Brazil, days away from hosting the Copa America tournament, even though a majority of its citizens don't want it. We explain what is going on.


HOLMES: Also, Olympics officials in Japan offering coronavirus vaccines to some people. We will tell you who.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

There are just 41 days until the Tokyo Olympics and the president of the Olympic organizing committee says they will be giving shots to 18,000 people who are working closely with the 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 and that's a little more than 12.5 percent of the country's entire population.

So clearly, there is a long way to go before Japan is fully vaccinated. Still, Olympic officials are trying to calm fears. Selina Wang, with the latest, from Tokyo.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With the Olympics just 6 weeks away, organizers are trying to reassure the public these games can be held safely. Japan has only fully vaccinated around 4 percent of its population.

But the president of Tokyo 2020, now says that they are planning to vaccinate about 18,000 Olympic workers. Take a listen.


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: It's unclear how many volunteers would be included in this. There are 70,000 Tokyo Olympic volunteers, even after 10,000 already quit. So it would include a small proportion, at best.

And many volunteers told me they've been given little more than hand sanitizer and cloth masks for protection. And they're asked to take public transportation between their homes and the Olympic Village.

Japan has already started to vaccinate their own Olympic athletes and officials say that they expect 80 percent of the Olympic Village to be vaccinated. Participants will be tested regularly, contract traced with GPS and asked to socially distance themselves.

But even Tokyo's own Olympics coronavirus advisor says it is impossible to shut out COVID-19 and stressed the importance of mitigating the spread. Now foreign fans have already been banned from attending the games.

And officials say, they will decide later this month how many local spectators can attend. Local media have reported that a negative COVID-19 test or a vaccination certificate may be required in order to get in as a local fan.

But here in Japan, there is still major opposition to hosting the Olympics. Tokyo and much of the country is still under a state of emergency. That is not set to expire until June 20th, just weeks before the games begin.

Now infections in Japan have slowed more recently.


WANG: But they are still reporting a few thousand new COVID cases per day and the spread of variants is a major concern. A key worry from doctors is that these games could push Japan's already overstretched medical system past the brink -- Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


HOLMES: Brazil struggling to contain its surging pandemic as a prepares to host the Copa America, South America's largest football tournament. For the third straight day, its health ministry reporting more than 85,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 2,000 new deaths.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Brazil has more than 17 million total cases and the world's second highest death toll with more than 480,000.

Now that has led to fierce criticism about Brazil hosting the Copa America tournament. A recent poll indicating the majority of Brazilians just don't want it. But president Jair Bolsonaro says, it will go on. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon has the details for us.


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. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: 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. That is taking place in Copenhagen, St. Petersburg and in Azerbaijan.

French Open officials, cutting fans a break during the semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.


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.


HOLMES (voice-over): Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will face off against Czech Barbora Krejcikova.


HOLMES: Quick break, when we come back, G7 leaders get a royal welcome at this year's summit. The key issues?

Queen Elizabeth and her family are discussing with world leaders. We have that and also hundreds of climate activists at the G7 as well. We will hear from the leader of one group and find out what environmental solutions they want to see come out of the summit. We will be right back.




VANIER: Welcome back to our beautiful little spot, here on the Cornish coast, in western England. In just a few hours, the leaders of the world's most powerful democracies will reconvene for the second day of the G7 summit in Cornwall, England.

Topping the agenda, foreign policy and the COVID crisis, still gripping much of the world, of course. The leaders, expecting to sign an agreement called the Carbis Bay Declaration, vowing to take steps to prevent future pandemics.

While COVID kept them apart for nearly two years, these G7 leaders got right down to business on Friday. They discussed the global economy and pledged to donate one billion COVID vaccine doses to low income countries.

This year's G7 has also been a royal affair. The Duchess of Cambridge toured a school with U.S. first lady Jill Biden and three generations of senior royals, including the queen, attended a reception with world leaders.

And it all comes as the queen is set to celebrate her official birthday in the hours ahead, with a military parade at Windsor Castle. Here is CNN's Max Foster with more on that.


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.


VANIER: The Prince of Wales says he hopes the world can come together to address climate change with the same vigor it has focused on combating COVID-19. He has long championed environmental causes and, in his speech Friday, he stressed the need for government and business to lead the way on global warming.


PRINCE CHARLES: 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.

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


VANIER: "We must also do it for the planet," the words of Prince Charles.

Joining me now is Gail Bradbrook, Dr. Gail Bradbrook, the cofounder of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion. We have seen the group actually protest in protests this weekend.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I assume you agree with what Prince Charles was saying.

DR. GAIL BRADBROOK, COFOUNDER, EXTINCTION REBELLION: To be honest, I heard specifically this morning --


VANIER: -- my mistake.

BRADBROOK: -- environment champion.

VANIER: His point was that, if we can rally together to defeat a pandemic, invent a vaccine and distribute vaccines, we can do the same thing to save the environment.

BRADBROOK: Well, let's be honest, we haven't defeated the pandemic yet. A pandemic is an expression of the ecological crisis that we are in. We should expect more pandemics and we haven't set up the world yet to be able to respond to pandemics.

So what happened is we get new variants. And what COVID-19 is teaching us is that none of us are safe until all of us are safe.

VANIER: What do you want to see out of this G7 because, nominally, the leaders that are assembled, not far from where we, are taking environmental issues very seriously.

BRADBROOK: These G7 countries have been making promises, over and over again and we are drowning in promises. We have had enough of targets for the future. What we need is action now.

For example, these countries have subsidized fossil fuels to the tune of 100 billion annually. They have just given almost 200 billion in bailouts to some of the most polluting countries -- sorry, companies. So their words do not meet their actions. We need action now.

The science says that the tipping point in this crisis has already been breached, the ice caps are melting, for example. The Atlantic meridional ocean -- or current, which is the jet stream, for example, is changing. So we don't have time for long term targets. We can't carry on with business as usual.

VANIER: What would be a good outcome for you this weekend?

BRADBROOK: The biggest dream I have is that world leaders, actually, realize that they are embedded in a system that has got failure baked in, that is killing life on Earth.

While there are immediate things we can do within the system, stop subsidizing fossil fuels, actually honor the commitments to finance exploited countries to move forward, what we really need is to understand that economic growth on a finite planet is a form of cancer.


BRADBROOK: We are going to have to make very big shifts. But humanity can do something really different now. This is a time in which we need to shift in a different direction and where we're not at war with nature anymore. The biggest carbon capture machine in the world is the soil.

VANIER: You listen to these world leaders and this is different from 10 years ago. Their speeches are laced with what you are saying. They are laced with concerns for the environment with let's rebuild it; as we rebuild it let's do it in a green way. We can do jobs in the environment together.

And it's literally 30 percent of what they talk about in public.

BRADBROOK: Well, I'm afraid to say, my own leader, Boris Johnson, I'm ashamed of him. He's a bare-faced liar. He's just said that --


BRADBROOK: -- well, that he first of all said, the world needs to level up. And he just cut our aid budget. He's actually broken U.K. law.

VANIER: On...?

BRADBROOK: Sorry, on financing global south countries. He has broken our law and cut the aid.


VANIER: -- cutting the aid --

BRADBROOK: And yet, out of his mouth is this idea that we need to level up. He talks a good game around climate and ecological crisis and he bails out the companies that are creating it. Meanwhile, in our country, there is an infrastructure project HS2 that is plowing through nature.

And it is destroying 108 woodlands. It is the biggest deforestation in the U.K. since World War I.


BRADBROOK: -- say one thing and they do another --

VANIER: -- there that gap between what they say what they profess on the one hand and what they do, according to you on the other.

Are they insincere?

Or are they incapable of changing -- ? BRADBROOK: You know, interestingly, there was a report in 2016 called "Thinking the Unthinkable," and what it said was that our leaders are not able to think about these major crises in the world.

And I think it is part of the political economy that we are running right now, that is obsessed with infinite growth and profit making. It's not like profits are bad, it's just that we just have to reduce our consumption levels. We have a finite planet.

So one of the things we're calling for in Extinction Rebellion, is a global assembly of ordinary citizens. These leaders are baked into a business as usual mindset. When you put ordinary citizens with experts, they could redesign this system. Humanity needs to rewire itself as well.


VANIER: -- you say business as usual, that is what the leaders are talking about. So what they've been saying is we can have our cake and eat it because we can rebuild our economy and use the green economy and those investments to create jobs.

Do you agree with that?

Is that possible?

Is that a mirage?

BRADBROOK: It's important to do a just transition, in which we focus on jobs and changing society, reducing consumption and so on. I think when people think we can carry on with the lifestyles we have right now, it's not honest.

We will have to change the way we live. But what we know is that 50 percent of emissions comes from 10 percent of the population. The superrich will have to change their levels of consumption. We have to tackle the depths of inequality in the world. We have to change the form of the economic system that we're running with.

VANIER: And those emissions come in no small part from those populations that are represented by those leaders over there. So this is the weekend -- we will see. We will see what they say. In word, in word --


BRADBROOK: We need to see what they do.

VANIER: -- we need to see what they do. All right, that's a great way to finish it. Dr. Gail Bradbrook, thank you so much for joining us here.

And with that, let me take it back to Michael Holmes with the rest of the world news, here on CNN NEWSROOM -- Michael. HOLMES: Yes, fascinating stuff. Cyril, thank you for that. Still ahead here on the program, there are growing calls for hearings

into Donald Trump's Justice Department, following stunning allegations of abuse of power by the former president and his administration. We have the latest from Capitol Hill, when we come back.





HOLMES: Top U.S. Democrats are demanding answers over revelations that the Trump administration may have abused Justice Department powers to target political enemies. CNN has learned Trump's DOJ subpoenaed Microsoft, along with Apple, for data on House Democrats, staffers and even their family members.

The goal?

Track down leaks of classified information about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. The White House press secretary told Jake Tapper the president is appalled by the news.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Let me be absolutely clear -- the behavior, these actions, the President finds them absolutely appalling.

He ran for president in part because of the abuse of power by the last president and by the last attorney general.


HOLMES: Sources say former attorney general Bill Barr pushed DOJ investigators to quickly finish the probes that included the secret subpoenas. Now lawmakers want to hear directly from Barr and his predecessor. CNN's Manu Raju with the latest from Capitol Hill.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: And the president directed me --

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former president Donald Trump's Justice Department under intense scrutiny today, after new revelations suggested he employed the department's awesome power to investigate his enemies.

The deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, asking the department's inspector general to begin an investigation after news broke that Trump's Justice Department seized records of House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff and committee Democrat Eric Swalwell, along with staff and even their family members. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I can't say that it was extraordinarily broad. People having nothing to do within, you know, the intelligence matters that are least being reported on. It just shows what a broad fishing expedition it was. And so many norms were broken in connection with this.

RAJU (voice-over): Sources tell CNN, the effort began in February 2018, when attorney general Jeff Sessions ran the department. The subpoenas were related to leaks of classified information regarding contacts between Russians and Trump associates.

More than 100 accounts were affected, casting a wide net that even swept up at least one minor, that included a gag order, which was renewed three times before expiring this year. And it wasn't until May that Apple notified customers that the records had been seized.

On a private conference call today, sources tell CNN that committee Democrats were animated about getting to the bottom of who was behind this effort and are now asking Apple to provide them with more details about whether additional members were targeted.

The source tells CNN that Sessions was not involved in the subpoenas, even though it began under his tenure. And the effort continued under Trump's attorney general Bill Barr, who had this exchange with then Senator Kamala Harris in 2019.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Can you repeat that question?


BARR: Yes.

HARRIS: 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'd remember something like that and be able to tell us.

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

RAJU (voice-over): This afternoon, Barr told "Politico" that he was, "not aware of any congressman's records being sought in a leak case," Barr adding, "I never discussed the leak cases with Trump."

In the Senate, the top two Democrats want Barr to say that under oath, threatening to subpoena him along with Sessions and other officials to compel their testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

RAJU: Now while most Republicans in Congress have been quiet, one of them has spoken out. That's senator Chuck Grassley, the lead Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He said, in part, "Investigations into members of Congress and staff are nothing new, especially for classified leaks."


RAJU: His position is important because, on the Senate Judiciary Committee, they require bipartisan support in order to issue a subpoena. So all Republicans can deny Democrat's permission to subpoena for the testimony, it's different on the House side, where they can do it unilaterally. The Democrats are in the majority there, can do just that.

They want to hear from Merrick Garland, at least get him to provide information to their committee, because they're frustrated they haven't gotten enough information from Biden's Justice Department about the investigation that happened under Trump -- Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


HOLMES: The World Food Programme's emergency coordinator is issuing a stark warning about food insecurity and famine in Ethiopia's war-torn 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: Coming up, a perplexing problem for European travelers, differing COVID-19 policies, depending on where you are going. And those could change at any moment. We sort out some of the confusion on the other side.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

United Airlines is planning a big step toward normal. Good news for tens of thousands of employees. The company says it is bringing most of its workforce back by October. A resurgence in demand, driving the move, according to United, which is also adding hundreds of flights this month.

The flight attendants' union says no furloughs are expected and calls it a victory for the massive federal investment in airlines.

And it's coming none too soon as many people are starting to get the summer travel bug. Europe's tourism businesses are trying to attract visitors during what is usually their busiest season.


HOLMES: But Europe's confusing and inconsistent COVID travel rules are making it difficult. The CEO of Ryanair says he's especially disappointed with the U.K. and Irish governments.


MICHAEL O'LEARY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RYANAIR: No, I have no confidence in Johnson -- Boris Johnson. Management in shambles. The Irish government, despite the fact that we're an island off the edge of Europe, are literally, you know, are making stuff up as they go along.


HOLMES: CNN's Anna Stewart now has more on the ever-changing travel rules tourists are facing.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Parasols are poised in Portugal's Algarve. The canals are cruise ready in Venice.

The summer season looms and the travel and tourism sectors are hoping for a break. The International Air Transport Association says Europe's aviation market will be the hardest hit this year due to its reliance on international travel, with losses of $22.2 billion expected and demand predicted to be down by about 66 percent compared to 2019.

The E.U. has now launched a Digital Health Pass for travel. It is already being used in some countries and will be available in all member states by July. E.U. citizens can travel within the bloc with proof of a negative COVID-19 test, recovery from previous infection or vaccination.

For non-E.U. citizens, the picture is more complex. Spain welcomes fully vaccinated travelers without any testing requirements from anywhere other than Brazil, India and South Africa. France requires arrivals from the U.K., North America and most of Asia and Africa to provide a negative test regardless of their vaccination status.

The continent is essentially a patchwork of different rules and restrictions.

JOHAN LUNDGREN, CEO, EASYJET: I'm super excited. You know, it is a big day because the travel ban has actually been lifted today.

STEWART (voice-over): The U.K. removed its travel ban in May and lifted quarantine requirements for a handful of countries such as Portugal, only to reverse that decision less than three weeks later on account of COVID cases rising and new variants emerging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a very confusing decision.

STEWART (voice-over): The confusion of what rules are, where and if or when they may change could make Europe's summer season a washout -- Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, spending part of your day with me, I am Michael Holmes. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @HolmesCNN. My colleague Kim Brunhuber will be along after a short break and Cyril will be back from Cornwall, as our G7 coverage continues. You're watching CNN, don't go anywhere.