Return to Transcripts main page


First Person Charged Under National Security Law Found Guilty; Vatican Opens Trial Of Prominent Cardinal, Nine Others; One Man's Mission to Save the World's Sharks. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 27, 2021 - 02:00   ET




Coming up this hour, it seems Japan cannot catch a break. Already hammered by COVID, a brutal heat wave, a tropical storm. Now, one of the country's biggest Olympic stars has crashed out of the games. More on Naome Osaka's big loss.

The Biden administration makes it official. Combat operations in Iraq will be over by year's end, but U.S. forces will stay, reclassified on paper as trainers and advisors.

And the fiery debate of a mandated COVID vaccinations, who should win the battle over the right to refuse and the right to not fall ill and die.

We begin in Japan where a high wave and storm surge advisory has been issued ahead of the Tropical Storm Nepartak making landfall. The bad weather has made some events have been rescheduled. Surfing made is to be a little earlier than planned, sailing, and rowing have been postponed until later this week.

The rain could threaten the gold medal game in softball between the United States and Japan, scheduled to start a few hours from now.

Despite a surge in COVID infection, spectators still turned out for the final of the triathlon. According to games officials, at least 160 COVID cases are now being linked to the Tokyo Games.

Two athletes are among five new cases reported from the Olympic Village on Tuesday. And there's been a shocker of a stunner of an upset on the tennis court. Let's bring in CNN's "WORLD SPORTS" Patrick Snell. Details please.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Johnny, I say, short while ago, when a Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka eliminated, this is big, big story I can't stress this enough -- eliminated from the women's singles tournament isn't a round of 16 or third round if you prefer.

Let's just give context here. This is a four time Grand Slam champion a shopper she likely never saw coming at the 23-year-old. SNELL (voice-over): Remember, that iconic image of her as well and she lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony on Friday ahead of these games.

Osaka just a short while ago, John, losing to Marketa Vondrousova, ranked 42 in the world. 22-year-old from the Czech Republic. Osaka competing in her first Olympics too. She would have had very high hopes indeed, of going onto win gold, no question. But going down 61, 64 in straight sets having been a breakup in the second set, as well.

While Osaka has been in the news a lot, just for further context here having pulled out on a French Open in Paris recently. And then, Wimbledon citing mental health issues. But elected to play in Tokyo. But this is one big major upset, John. No question about that. And we are following the fallout from this, you can be sure of it.

SNELL (on camera): Now, away from the tennis, these Olympics have seeing them, many teenagers, shall we say, rising to new heights. Just take a look at the women's skateboarding competition Monday, the podium featuring three teens, two of them were 13.

Earlier this day, more teenage exploits as Lydia Jacoby becoming the first ever American Olympic swimmer from Alaska to win gold. It came in the 100 meter breaststroke final. The 17-year-old shocking South African star Tatjana Schoenmaker who won silver, and U.S. superstar Lilly King, who had to settle in the end for bronze.

Meantime, in the women's 100 meter backstroke, Australia's Kaylee McKeown taking gold, setting an Olympic record in the process the time of 57.47. The 20-year old from Queensland. Remember, also setting the world record for the 100 meters backstroke in June with a time of 57.45.

And history in the making to tell you about as far as the first time since 1992. Now, America's man have lost a backstroke race at the Olympics. Evgeny Rylov of the Russian Olympic Committee claiming gold. His compatriot Kliment Kolesnikov with silver in the 100 meter backstroke final.

The American swimmer Ryan Murphy, the world record holding no less settling for bronze.

And Great Britain, Team G.B., celebrating golden silver this day. This in the men's 200 meter freestyle as Tom Dean and Duncan Scott finish first and second respectively. First time, by the way, that since 1908 that two male British swimmers have ended up on the Olympic podium together. John.

VAUSE: And -- some more storylines coming out of Tokyo today, calling it historic first.


VAUSE: Would it be --

(CROSSTALK) SNELL: Some really great storylines, continuing day by day we're seeing them, John. History in the making as well this Tuesday.

I want to get to Bermuda's first ever Olympic gold medal. This coming in the women's triathlon amid very wet and challenging conditions. I tell you, the event delayed as a result, but this is the day to savor then for Bermuda's Flora Duffy often historic first ever gold medal for her country. Wonderful for her to take stock off Team GB's Georgia Taylor-Brown, taking silver.


And meantime, a special moment as well for the Philippines. Hidilyn Diaz who's become her country's first ever Olympic gold medalist, and in a fourth games too, the 30-year old winning the women's 55 kilo category for weightlifting, setting an Olympic mark as well.

Amazing story last year, when you consider, Diaz actually had been stuck in Malaysia for about five months under a government travel ban due to an outbreak of COVID-19, force to really improvise, John, building her own gym, training with water bottles as well.

It really is quite some achievement as I send it right back to you.

VAUSE: Patrick Snell, we appreciate all of that. Thank you for being with us.

Let's go take here now, CNN's Blake Essig. And Blake, to be clear, the storm is expected to make landfall a good distance from where you are right now. So, how will it impact the games overall?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, you know, John, it's definitely having an impact. The threat of this tropical storm has forced organizers to postpone several events that were supposed to be held today. But I wonder if organizers are questioning that decision at this point as the weather system can't seem to make up its mind throughout the day.

We have experienced howling winds and sideways rain, but right now, it's a beautiful sunny day, and there's really hardly a breeze. So, that will be instead though, john, the tropical storm is expected to make landfall at some point today. And because of that, several Olympic events have been postponed.

I'm currently outside of the archery field where all of today's competitions have been rescheduled because of the storm. The sailing and rowing events have also been postponed.

And again, so far today, I know it's hard to believe, but we have been experiencing constant rain and wind throughout the day, and the projected path of that storm could potentially change. But again, we do expect that things will get worse as the evening approaches.

One sport that has actually benefited from the storm is surfing. The men and women's metal round was originally scheduled for tomorrow. But it is instead being held as we speak. Conditions couldn't be any better for the surfing competition that's making its Olympic debut. Those surfers are currently enjoying big overhead swells which is exactly what you'd want at a surfing competition. And while the storm is only expected to impact competition for a day or two, the weather will remain a constant challenge for athletes throughout these Olympic Games. Take a listen.


NOBUYUKI TSUCHIYA, DIRECTOR, JAPAN RIVERFRONT RESEARCH CENTER: After the typhoon passes through the South Pacific high will dominate Japan, and we will see blue skies. But at the same time the temperature will also rise dramatically and it will become extremely hot.


ESSIG (on camera): The threat of heatstroke is also a big concern at these games. In fact, tennis star and world number one Novak Djokovic has asked the Olympic officials to move matches to the evening to avoid the daytime heat and humidity. And John, it is hot and humid here right now.

VAUSE: Blake, if everyone thought it was going to be harder, but knew it's going to be hot, and it's hot. So, there you go. Blake, thank you. Blake Essig today in Tokyo. Let's get more on the weather. I feel the game as Pedram Javaheri is striking the tropical storms moving, and he joins us with the very latest.

And you know, it's summer. It's Japan, it's Tokyo. It gets hot, it gets humid.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST (on camera): This is what you expect. Yes, you know, and John, it's 32 degrees right now. And that's the coolest temperature.



JAVAHERI: I looked into this, the latest observation. 32 across Tokyo, the coolest temperature in two weeks across that region. It rained at 33 millimeters of rainfall in the past few hours, as Blake was kind of noting. And that is the wettest day we've had in about three weeks.

So again, this is as cool and as wet as you'll see it this time of year and we're still well into the lower 30s. And that's the concern. We've got a couple of tropical systems in fire and across portions of eastern China. And then you work your way to Nepartek impacting areas of northern and central Japan.

Together, accounting for four of the top five most disrupted airports that are planets taking place across this region as the system works its way closer to land. Of course, landfall later on tonight into the early morning hours is what we expect.

Not sure if the animations are working for you here. But we do expect Nepartek to move a short near Sendai. We think temperatures there should cool off into the upper 20s. The concern is the rainfall amounts could be as much as 150 millimeters by the time this storm moves out of here.

Again, that's not for Tokyo, that's to the North. But some of those venues across the North will be impacted. And certainly we've heard of these delays that are in place now or at least rescheduling of events because of the inclement weather that is in place there.

So, the system here gives us a brief respite, when it comes to the temperatures around the region cooling down into the lower 30s. And then once it's out of here, temperatures go right back up.

Novak Djokovic there in the last couple of days use the word brutal to describe the temperatures saying it is as hot as he's ever felt at playing tennis, saying quite a bit he's played a lot of places around the world with extreme temperatures and when you factoring the humidity, this is as uncomfortable as it gets, John.

VAUSE: Yes, it's just awful, but heat and the high temperatures, there's no escaping from it, I guess. And it's going to stay that way for a while. Pedram, thank you. We appreciate the update.


VAUSE: But between COVID and tropical storm, the brutal heat wave, it's clear this is not what Tokyo 2020 organizers had in mind when the city won hosting duties years ago.

With geopolitical rival China set to host the Winter Games in February, Japan sees is much more at stake here than just Olympic glory.

CNN's Selena Wang reports now from Tokyo.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A year and a half into the pandemic, it's clear these aren't the Olympics Japan was hoping for.



WANG: The Games were supposed to be the nation's comeback after decades of economic stagnation and devastation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. But COVID-19 derailed those dreams.

WANG (on camera): After spending more than $15 billion for the Summer Games, Japan is projected to lose billions with no economic boost from foreign tourists, fans banned from almost every Olympic venue, and a subdued opening ceremony at this national stadium that the country spent more than a billion dollars rebuilding.

WANG (voice-over): And now, the country along with the IOC plough ahead, ignoring cancellation calls from doctors, sponsors, and business leaders. I call it this is like a suicide mission, to be very honest. With just barely over 20 percent of Japan's population fully vaccinated, the games have also highlighted Japan's current place in the pandemic. A slow start with vaccine rollout paired with surge in cases in Tokyo. The host city remaining under a state of emergency during the entirety of the Olympics.

It's the exact scenario Japan wanted to avoid. Losing center stage to geopolitical rival China, host of the Winter Olympics just six months after.

DAVID LEHENY, PROFESSOR, WASEDA UNIVERSITY: I absolutely think that the Tokyo Olympics could be a boon for China, especially if they get to contrast A Winter Olympics in which you have a large number of spectators in the stands with a much more quiet, in some cases, desultory Japanese Olympics in which there's no one in the stands.

WANG (on camera): How much of a role does fear of losing face to China getting upstaged by China factor into these games going ahead?

LEHENY: If the next Olympics were to be hosted by a country with which Japan at friendlier relationships, then perhaps, Japan canceling the Olympics wouldn't be considered quite as catastrophic.

WANG: Beijing could bring an entirely different experience than here in Japan. Stands full of spectators without COVID-19 taking center stage. China has claimed its draconian measures helped beat COVID-19. And has administered enough doses to fully vaccinate more than 40 percent of its population of 1.3 billion people.

But the stakes are equally high for Beijing. Its global reputation plunged for its initial handling of the pandemic. And a boost to Japan, some global leaders, including U.S. First Lady Jill Biden have attended the Tokyo Games.

But things might be a bit different in a few months with calls to boycott the Beijing Olympics and criticism if its authoritarian system only likely to grow. Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


VAUSE: To stay up to date with everything happening at the Tokyo Games, please go to CNN.COM/OLYMPICS.

At least 57 migrants have died after their boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Monday. According to U.N. officials, nearly two dozen women and children are among the dead.

Fishermen help the Libyan coast guard bring survivors to land near the port city of Khums. Good weather recently has seen an uptick in migrant boats crossing to Italy and other parts of Europe from Libya.

Well, was it a coup or a desperate act amidst a national crisis? After the president of Tunisia suspended parliament, the prime minister he sacked now says he accepts his dismissal for the good of the country, which is struggling with the COVID outbreak and worsening economic turmoil.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has details now, reporting in from Beirut.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Monday evening, Tunisian President Kais Saied went on television, addressing the nation. He insisted that his dismissal of his prime minister, defense minister, and acting justice minister, and freezing of Parliament for 30 days did not constitute a coup d'etat that he was acting according to the Constitution.

He also declared that the current curfew that's in place from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. now -- will now be from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. And he banned public gatherings of more than three people in streets and squares.

Now, the dramatic events that began in Tunisia on Sunday have their roots going back several years.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): To his supporters, Tunisian President Kais Saied is a hero. Out in the streets of the capital Tunis, shortly after announcing he was sacking the prime minister and suspending Parliament for 30 days.

Locked out of Parliament, Speaker Rached Ghannouchi said the president's decisions are, in essence, a coup. Ghannouchi also leads the country's largest political party.


Tunisia is now deepen in turmoil. 10 years ago, it was the first Arab country to topple its ageing dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in what became known as the Arab Spring, which brought down autocrats also in Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. And drew Libya and Syria, each into a decade of war.

In Tunisia, hopes were high that an era of democracy was finally dominant. And democracy did dawn, messy, chaotic, and divisive. What didn't come with democracy was prosperity.

Saddled with debt left behind by the dictatorship, the economy stagnated, made worse by one of Africa's severest COVID outbreaks. Kais Saied, a law professor and political independent came to power in a landslide election two years ago.

But since then, he clashed with the prime minister, now sacked, and with parliament. The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, and perhaps there will end. Liberty and freedom are wonderful, but you can't beat democracy.

WEDEMAN (on camera): It's not clear at this point if this is the end of Tunisia's experiment with democracy, or simply a pause. I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Beirut.

VAUSE: After months of political deadlock, Lebanon's parliament has selected a former prime minister to fill the post once again. Billionaire-businessman Najib Mikati is the third person nominated for the job since the Lebanese Government resigned in the wake of last year's deadly port explosion in Beirut.

Mikati will need to form a new government before implementing a French plan to secure foreign aid and hope to end a crippling financial crisis.

Well, the two wars started in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks and now officially winding down. While troops will withdraw from Afghanistan, the U.S. president has now announced an official end to combat operations in Iraq. What does that mean for U.S. troop presence in the country and how their mission will change? That's ahead.

Also, European countries developing a patchwork of rules of COVID vaccinations. Coming up, the challenge of fighting the Delta variant without a unified approach.


VAUSE: Signs of a vaccination slowdown across Europe as of Thursday, about 55 percent of adults in the E.U. had been fully vaccinated.

VAUSE (voice-over): With a recent surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, some governments are now moving from carrots for vaccinations to sticks.


VAUSE: France has passed a law requiring proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, and for long distance travel. In the U.K., England is considering a health pass for large public events.

And Greece, Italy, and France are mandating vaccines for healthcare workers. Moves which have triggered angry protests, demonstrators have been demanding freedom from vaccination rules.

With us now from Los Angeles is Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, a board certified internal medicine specialist, as well as a viral researcher.

VAUSE (on camera): And welcome back. Good to see you.


VAUSE: I want you to listen to the French president responding to those protests over the new rules for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Here he is.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): That is not freedom. That is called irresponsibility, it is called selfishness. A society only holds together when the freedom of each person is respectful of the other. And therefore, it is based on rights and duties.


VAUSE: So, in other words, if choosing not to be vaccinated only impacted the individual, have at it. But there's a different situation altogether when those actions can have far reaching consequences in way beyond that one person, right?

RODRIGUEZ: Absolutely. I've said for a long time, John that someone else's rights and where my rights begin, and we have rights to stay healthy.

And if this were just an individual, right, well, then yes, have the courage of your convictions. But it isn't that easy. This is something that spreads and affects everyone.

And a government's responsibility is to take care of the majority of the people. It's to serve the greater good.

VAUSE: Yes, the surgeon general who served during the Trump White House, HE talked about the need to license vaccines before there can be any kind of mandate. Here he is.


JEROME ADAMS, FORMER SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: So, if you want to get a bunch of people vaccinated really quickly, get these vaccines licensed, and then you'll see the military make it mandatory. You'll see businesses make it mandatory.


VAUSE: So, with that in mind, it was only made when Pfizer announced it was seeking to license its vaccines and was hoping for, "Full regulatory approval of the vaccine in the coming months." So, it's now more than three months later. How much longer should this take?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, I think it should happen immediately, to be quite honest, I just don't know if there's really going to be a big change in people's perception of the vaccine just because an agency that a lot of people don't trust to begin with gives an authorization.

Yes, it should happen. But unfortunately, I think that genie is out of the bottle. And the mistrust that has been caused by politicization is going to continue. But yes, I believe in mandating in private businesses and government agencies, and especially in the health professions that people should be vaccinated in order to serve.

VAUSE: Yes, right now, around the world, there is this real inconsistency in vaccine rules. You have France, and Italy, and Greece had mandated shots for healthcare workers, health passes are needed for entry to most indoor events and activities of both France and Italy.

England, too, could also need some kind of health pass for those kind of public gatherings.

All public workers in New York City in the state of California will soon require a vaccination. That also applies to healthcare workers in California, as well as at the Department of Veterans Affairs. And 300 bars in San Francisco, they'll require a proof of vaccine soon for entry. And there's a lot more out there. But this is just such a -- you know, a patchwork at the moment that, you know, it just doesn't seem to be effective. Is it even possible, though, for a more universal or simple global approach to be put into place?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, it is possible. I just don't think it is probable. From the beginning. John, we've talked about this. Even the United States, there are counties, you know, all the counties create their own rules.

So, the same laws and the same individuality that makes this country great is now working against us. From the beginning, there should has -- there should have been one mandate, there should have been one rule. And perhaps, well, globally there needs to be one too. Spearheaded by the WHO, perhaps, but there needs to be consistency. I agree with you. 100 percent.

VAUSE: And very quickly, what's to be gained by those who are spreading this disinformation, be it Russia, there'll be at the anti- vaxxers, you know, be at the don't (INAUDIBLE) crowd?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know, some people really in earnest do believe. I mean, we call them and I don't mean to insult anybody tree huggers here. You know, in California, the people, you know, that don't want anything foreign in their body. But what is to be gained, there are some people whose only sole purpose is to have political gain, to increase their base, or increase their viewership.

And I guarantee you, even though they don't say it, but they don't say they haven't, 100 percent of those people are vaccinated. They are playing their followers, like fiddles, like pawns. So, what is there to be gained? The usual thing, power, money, you name it.

VAUSE: Yes. It could cause a lot of trouble. Jorge, good to see you. Thanks so much for being with us.

RODRIGUEZ: Likewise, John.


VAUSE: After falling for months, the number of new COVID infections across the United States is again rising sharply and it could get worse.

The former head of the CDC warns the U.S. is heading towards 200,000 new cases a day within six weeks. COVID cases are rising fast in areas where the vaccination rates remain relatively low, like Florida, which accounted for nearly a quarter of all COVID cases in the U.S. over the past week.

As CNN's Randi Kaye reports, it means hospitals are once again facing being overwhelmed by a surge of patients.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TAMMY DANIEL, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, BAPTIST HEALTH: Increased started happening so quickly, and it's multiplying so fast every single day. We can't open a beds fast enough to meet the demands.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We met chief nursing officer Tammy Daniel in Jacksonville's Baptist Medical Center on one of the hospitals COVID floors, where those battling COVID are kept in special rooms reserved for patients with infectious diseases.

Baptist is now treating 389 COVID patients. That's an increase of about 11 percent from last week. 83 of the patients are in the ICU and on ventilators fighting to survive. Baptist says more than 99 percent of the infected patients here are not vaccinated.

And Dr. Michelle Aquino says those getting really sick are younger, too.

DR. MICHELLE AQUINO, BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER, JACKSONVILLE: I've admitted perfectly healthy 19-year-old woman, OK? A perfectly healthy, 25-year-old. So, you're seeing these healthy people that are walking around, saying, I don't need a vaccine, I'm fine. If I get COVID, I'll be fine. And that's not true. For the Delta variant we're really seeing that is not true.

KAYE: About 44 percent of the COVID patients here are under the age of 50, according to the hospital.

MICHAEL MAYO, PRESIDENT, BAPTIST HEALTH: Our average age right now is at the 50-year-old mark and we see patients infected with serious respiratory problems as young as in their 30s.

KAYE: And once patients are seriously ill it's too late to get the vaccine until they recover. But that hasn't stopped many from begging for it.

DANIEL: We're getting ready to intubate the patient and I see which means putting them on a ventilator. And they said, if I get the vaccine now, could I not go on the ventilator? So, I mean, they are begging for it. They're desperate because they're gasping for air. They can't breathe. They are scared. They feel like they're going to pass away.

KAYE: In room 434, we find Francisca who tells me that her whole family has COVID. None of them got the vaccine.


KAYE: Bad?

FRANCISCA: I cannot -- yes. I cannot breathe good. I have shortness of breath. I feel sorry about not getting a vaccine.

KAYE: You're sorry. You're sorry, you didn't get the vaccine. Do you -- do you think you would be here if you had gotten the vaccine?

FRANCISCA: No. KAYE: Down the hall, this patient is also unvaccinated.

And you were more concerned about the vaccine and the disease and now you say you regret it.

MARIBEL, COVID PATIENT: Yes, exactly that's correct. That's right.

KAYE: You wish you had gotten the vaccine?

MARIBEL: Yes, exactly.

KAYE: You probably wouldn't be here.

MARIBEL: Yes, exactly.

KAYE: Same story for Marco. He is 49, unvaccinated, and full of regret about not making the vaccine a priority when his doctor offered it.

So you're going to get the vaccine now?


KAYE: Frustration is high among staff here since they know it doesn't have to be this way.

KAYE: Have you lost patience?

AQUINO: Yes, we've all lost patience here in the last few weeks. When you see someone who's 39, otherwise healthy, they didn't get vaccinated for whatever reason. Usually not a great reason to be honest. And then they come in here and they die from complications of COVID.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


VAUSE: Well, it won't be mission accomplished for Iraq more like change of mission with the Biden administration declaring a new phase in a war which began 18 years ago. Details when we come back.

Also, a dysfunctional system or unintentional cover up. A CNN exclusive report on the unusual challenges facing the investigation into the assassination of Haiti's president.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Well the U.S. combat mission in Iraq will officially end by yearend. Now during a meeting at the White House with the Iraqi Prime Minister, President Joe Biden stressed the U.S. is not turning its back on a strategic partnership.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's just to be available, to continue to train, to assist, to help, and to deal with ISIS as it arrives, but we are not going to be by the end of the year in a combat mission.


VAUSE: Iraq has demanded and end of the combat mission, and the announcement makes the current status quo official. More details now from CNN's Arwa Damon.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.S. forces will be remaining in Iraq. Perhaps a change in semantics no longer being called combat troops but rather as an advise and assist unit. And this is what the Iraqi Prime Minister says his country needs, but it's not just ongoing training of the Iraqi Security Forces.

What is also especially critical to Iraq is America's intelligence sharing and other capabilities, and it would seem that at this stage nearly a decade later both the U.S. and Iraq want to avoid what happened towards the end of 2011 under the Obama administration when what many would say a premature withdrawal of U.S. forces took place, which ended up being one of the many key factors that allowed for the reemergence of ISI, the Islamic State of Iraq, ISIS's predecessor, which then very quickly grew and morphed into the most formidable terrorist organization that we have seen to date.

But this ongoing U.S. troop presence despite what is being publically said is not just about training and assisting Iraqi forces. It's not just about an ongoing battle against ISIS, which does continue to carry out devastating attacks in Iraq albeit not to the same degree that it used to in the past.

This is also about creating a counterbalance to Iran's growing influence, a counterbalance to the strength and power of the Iranian- backed Shia militias that many will argue are even more powerful than the Iraqi Security Forces themselves. Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.


VAUSE: Douglas Ollivant served under both the George W. Bush and the Obama administrations as the National Security Council's directive for Iraq. He is with us now from Culpepper in Virginia. Douglas, thank you for taking the time to be with us.


VAUSE: OK, sir. I want you to listen to the White House Press Secretary dodging a question about the number of U.S. troops inside Iraq by year's end. Here she is.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The first step is the change in mission, the end of combat - of a combat role in Iraq and moving to more of a train, advise, and assist role. That is what the Iraqi leadership have conveyed they want to see on the ground.


VAUSE: Is this all a bit like the old shell game because most U.S. troops currently in Iraq will stay in Iraq, but they'll be reclassified. They'll become advisors and trainers. The reality on the ground, though, seems really unchanged. Is that accurate?

OLLIVANT: In a lot of ways the reality on the ground will be unchanged, which of course makes you ask why we just didn't make this announcement six or nine months ago and avoid all the drama of the last, you know, six or nine months. But no, I don't think there'll be a lot of change on the ground. We may see some labels change. It wouldn't surprise me if we see the name of the operation change.


Maybe they'll downgrade the headquarters in Iraq. It's currently commanded by a three-star general. Maybe that gets demoted to a two or a one-star general, which is more appropriate for a training mission.

But if you're a captain or lieutenant or major doing your job on the ground in Iraq it's probably going to look really, really similar.

VAUSE: We heard President Biden talking about the ongoing fight against ISIS remains a priority. We have some more details from a senior administration official who told CNN, "Nobody is going to declare mission accomplished. The goal is the enduring defeat of ISIS. WE recognize you have to keep pressure on these networks as they seek to constitute, but the role for U.S. forces and coalition forces can very much receive, you know, deep into the background where we are training, advising, sharing intelligence, helping with logistics."

At the same time, I want you to listen to the view from a general with the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces. He's calling for an increase in the number of U.S. forces because of ISIS. Here he is.


GEN. SIRWAN BARZANI, KURDISH PESHMERGA ARMED FORCES: ISIS starting to reorganize themselves again, and they are very active, and they have almost every day terror attack against the civilian or civilian targets. The troops on ground be fighting against this terrorism group, but it was not easy and not so possible to defeat ISIS without the support of the coalitions.


VAUSE: Sir, right now is the current troop level sufficient to counter the threat from ISIS? Is there a point where you see U.S. troops needing to go back in in significant numbers and maybe not just to deal with ISIS? Is this a counterpoint for Iran as well or Iran- backed militias?

OLLIVANT: Well let's stick with ISIS for a minute. The ISIS problem now - and it still exists. Let's not kid ourselves. There is still an ISIS presence in Iraq - but it's an intelligence and police problem, not really a military one.

If we think back to the ISIS war we saw five years ago with the seizure of Mosul and the recapture of other Iraqi cities, we knew exactly where ISIS was. They were in the cities, but getting them out of there was really hard. That was a military problem that took coordinated military effort.

Now it's really an intelligence police problem. Finding ISIS is really hard. We really have no earthly idea exactly where we are. We know the general areas they work in, but finding exactly where they are is hard. Once you do, it's a police problem. You send someone to go arrest them because they're in relatively small groups.

So no, you don't need U.S. troops to do this because you really don't need any troops to do it. It's a police problem, occasionally a Special Forces problem if you've got a particularly nasty group, but you don't need the large bodies of troops that you needed during the big fights in the Iraqi cities five, six, seven years ago.

VAUSE: Do you need troops there for Iran at some point?

OLLIVANT: Well we have no authorization to do that. I don't think the Iraqis want our help with the Iranians as opposed to ISIS. They were perfectly happy to take that help. So no, I think it's very difficult to see a role for U.S. troops fighting against the Iranians inside Iraq unless we care to invade the place again, which I would strongly recommend against. We will.

VAUSE: Douglas, we are out of time, but thank you so much for being with us. It's appreciated.

OLLIVANT: My pleasure.

VAUSE: And with a sharp surge in civilian casualties amid a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Head of U.S. Command says a recent ramping up of airstrikes in support of Afghan forces will continue.

The Pentagon had earlier indicated air support would end once the U.S. drawdown was done. We have more now from CNN's Barbara Starr reporting from the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The 20-year U.S. war in Afghanistan isn't over just yet. The Biden administration now stepping up airstrikes against the Taliban, hoping to bolster increasingly vulnerable Afghan forces.

GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: The United States has increased airstrikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days, and we're prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks.

STARR: Airstrikes have hit Taliban targets in Kandahar, a key stronghold where fighting has raged. Several strikes have been aimed at military equipment the Taliban captured from Afghan forces, but can those Afghan units hang on against the Taliban who now control half of all district centers.

A grim assessment from the Director of the CIA.

WILLIAM BURNS, CIA DIRECTOR: The Taliban are making significant military advances. They're probably in the strongest military position that they've been in since 2001.

STARR: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says Afghan forces are trying to regroup and defend major cities.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban. There's a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover or a possibility of any number of other scenarios, breakdowns, warlordism (ph), all kinds of other scenarios out there. We're monitoring very closely. I don't think the endgame is yet written.


STARR: The price of Taliban violence doesn't end for the civilians. Nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed or injured in May or June according to the U.N., the highest number for those months since record keeping began in 2009.

The question now may be whether U.S. bombing will buy Afghan forces enough time to mount an effective counteroffensive against the Taliban. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


VAUSE: Still to come, no clear answers about who killed Haiti's President or why nearly three weeks after he was shot dead. A CNN exclusive report on what some people say are clear attempts to block the investigation.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: We all have cravings, and with spending more time at home those cravings can hit big when you want a snack, so here are some healthy ways to indulge. When you have sweet tooth snack on berries and yogurt or whip up a smoothie. This one has sweet potato, cauliflower rice, and almond butter. It's packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats that will have you feel full longer. Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla instead of sugar.

Craving something crunchy? Replace potato chips with avocado on crunchy toast or wholegrain crackers. It's great as a spread or a slice with seasoning. Or try some crispy bell peppers or roasted brussels sprouts. Now brussels sprouts are high in fiber, vitamin K and C. And when you want a salty snack, make it spicy instead.

VAUSE: In a few hours, the House Select Committee will begin an investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers will hear from four police officers who were on the front line as insurgents in support of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to try and stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory. The committee will also look at video clips as well as footage from body cams that day.

The makeup of the committee (ph) and its mission are a focus of a bit of a partisan feud. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, angered Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy, by rejecting two of his choices to serve on the panel. Now he's attacking the Republicans who are on the committee, calling Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney Pelosi Republicans. Neither appear phased by the juvenile name calling.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): It's childish. We're doing big things right now. You know, bottom line I'm an elected member of Congress. I'm a Republican. Kevin McCarthy is technically my Republican Leader, and to call, you know, members of Congress by childish names like Donald Trump used to do I guess is just kind of (inaudible).

Look, the bottom line I'm going to come here and do the best work I can. If the conference decides or if Kevin decides they want to punish, you know, Liz Cheney and I for getting to the bottom and telling the truth, I think that probably says more about them than it does for us.


VAUSE: CNN will have live coverage of the hearing. It starts 2 p.m. in London. That's 9 p.m. in Hong Kong.

Nearly three weeks on since Haitian President Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his home. There's no clear picture of how the attack unfolded or who was even behind it, and now we may know why there's been such little progress. CNN has obtained a cache of documents from Haiti's Justice Ministry which reveal the roadblocks investigators have been facing. CNN's Matt Rivers has this exclusive report.



MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The assassination of President Jovenel Moise rocked Haiti, and finding out who did it an why has become an all-consuming question on the island, but for some of the people investigating who took the president's life it has meant risking their own lives to do so.

CNN has obtained a copy of a previously unseen formal complaint filed with Haiti's national police in which several Haitian court clerks, key figures and criminal investigations detail the death threats they've received in the past few weeks.

"Hey Clerk you can wait for a bullet in your head, they gave you an order and you keep on doing s***!, " read one text message. The threat comes from someone anonymous, angry that the clerk has not followed certain instructions about whom and what to investigate. RIVERS: The threats appear to be just one startling example of what

appear to be consistent patterns of intimidation and a failure to follow procedure throughout the investigation into the president's death.

CNN has spoken to multiple sources close to the investigation who detailed what they believe are clear attempts to block investigators and therefore the public from finding out more about who killed the president and why.

RIVERS (voice over): Starting just a few hours after the assassination, around 7:00 am outside the presidential residence sources tell CNN multiple court clerks were kept outside a police perimeter for more than three hours after arriving, even while other law enforcement was inside.

Normally experts on Haiti's legal system say clerks enter a crime scene right away to officially document any evidence and to take statements from key witnesses per Haitian law.

RIVERS: It's unclear why in this case why they were delayed. But when they eventually did make it into the presidential residence just down the street behind me sources tell us that not one of the roughly two dozen or so guards present at the time of the assassination were still there, meaning no witness statements were immediately taken.

RIVERS (voice over): Later on that day there was a fierce gun fight between Haitian security forces and some of the alleged assassins at this building. Multiple suspects were killed, all of whom were Colombian.

Sources close to the investigation tell us court clerks were not immediately allowed into the shootout scene which would have been filled with evidence including, we're told, the bodies of the dead Colombians.

In an official document filed with Haiti's top prosecutor clerks describe examining the bodies not here at the shootout site, but here outside of an office building just down the road. That suggests the bodies had been removed from the crime scene before being processes. No official explanation of why that happened was given.


RIVERS (voice over): A few days later authorities start to zero in on this man, Christian Emmanuel Sanon as someone who allegedly recruited and helped organize some of these men seen here, the large group of Colombians and several Americans Haitian officials alleged carried out this crime. We haven't heard from the publicly. A source close to the investigation previously told CNN Sanon told investigators he is innocent.

It was around this time that the anonymous phone calls started. According to the official complaint filed with police obtained by CNN, clerks received multiple threatening phone calls telling them to stop investigating two suspects in the case and remove them from their reports.

According to the complaint the calls were followed by this text message, quote, "The told you to stop going around searching people's houses in the president assassination case and you refused. You've been told to take out two names and you refused. We're watching you."

Sources close to the investigation tell us the clerks were also told to add unrelated names to their reports. People who had no clear connection to the crime. It's unclear who made any of the calls or sent the text messages.

And then there's what happened with the FBI. Special agents from the Bureau invited in by Haiti's government went to the presidential residence about two weeks ago to collect evidence. Sources tell us the agents managed to find a lie, including the megaphone used here.


This is from the night of that assassination where one of the suspects is keeping people away from the scene by claiming it was all a DEA operation, something the agency and Haitian officials repeatedly denied that it was.

Sources tell CNN FBI agents were a little surprised to find so much evidence still at the crime scene and left wondering why Haitian authorities hadn't already collected it. Those sources added they do expect the FBI will have continued access to evidence that they requested.

RIVERS: Now CNN has reached out to multiple different Haitian government agencies seeking comment on this story. As of Monday night we only heard back from one person. That would be Haiti's top prosecutor who told us that many people involved in this investigation have actually received death threats including himself and that he would try and provide more security to investigators moving forward.

Matt Rivers, CNN.


VAUSE: Still to come another historic moment as surfing makes its official Olympic debut. And CNN spoke to Team USA. We'll have more on that after a short break.



VAUSE: Just a short time ago, surfing made its Olympic medal debut a little earlier than first scheduled to beat the arrival of a tropical storm. It's been a long journey, though, for a sport long associated with beach bums, bikinis, and carefree days to now Olympic status. CNN's Will Ripley spoke to members of Team USA about making history.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: About 90 minutes outside of Tokyo the sleepy surf town of Ichinomiya, the vibe Japanese with a touch of California and a sprinkle of Hawaii.

CARISSA MOORE. TEAM USA SURFER: (foreign language)

RIPLEY: Carissa Moore studied Japanese in her hometown of Honolulu.

MOORE: I really wanted to show my appreciation, so I was like practicing all morning and I wrote a little speech down. I think the Japanese people are definitely ambassadors of the aloha spirit.

RIPLEY: That aloha spirit, a coordination of mind and heart. Moore's mantra in life and sport, she has her own charitable foundation for the next generation of young female surfers. She's a four-time world surf lead champion.

MOORE: It's easy to get too far ahead of yourself when you think about how big it is.

RIPLEY: Moore is one of two female surfers making Olympic history for Team USA.

CAROLINE MARKS, TEAM USA SURFER: I don't know. It's just really fund. You know, they have a lot of experience and it's fund to kind of soak it all in.

RIPLEY: Caroline Marks from Florida is not even 20. She was surfing at 10.

And to be an Olympian -



RIPLEY: -- at your age, how do you top this?

MARKS: I mean, I don't know. I just like enjoy. I like love surfing so much and I enjoy it so much. Yes, I have tons of goals and things that I want to do, but right now I'm just trying to like live in the moment and enjoy this.

RIPLEY: While popular here in Japan, Chiba Prefecture is not exactly known as a global surfing destination, but this Summer Games cements its place in Olympic history.

International recognition for the sport a long time coming says the CEO of USA Surfing.

GREG CRUSE, CEO, USA SURFING: When I was in high school, surfing was a counterculture sport. I would, you know, go to take a girl out and she'd tell her dad that I was a surfer, and it was like oh my God.

RIPLEY: Today the biggest surfing stars can make millions, and the biggest name on Team USA, John John Florence, world famous for his powerful barrel riding and aerial tricks tailor made for the towering waves of his home state.

JOHN JOHN FLORENCE, TEAM USA SURFER: I great up in Hawaii. We have a lot of power in the waves.

RIPLEY: Japan's waves relatively tame by comparison.

So in some ways it's harder when it's like this?

FLORENCE: Yes. For me it's - I find it a lot harder than the smaller waves.

RIPLEY: Florence and the team have been training intensively in this world class wave pool. There were whispers of moving the Olympic competition to PerfectSwell Shizunami, but a typhoon in the region is serving up some even sweet swell on the coast. A new wave of Olympic greatness on the black sands of Japan. Will Ripley, CNN in Chiba, Japan.


VAUSE: Well an incredible rescue in New York State all caught on tape showing police and bystanders rushing to help a mother and her baby after they were hit and then trapped under a car. Two of the officers who raced to save them have spoke about the rescue, and before this report from CNN's Brynn Gingras a warning some of the video you're about to see is graphic.




UNDIENTIFIED MALE: Let's lift it up!

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Quick thinking and a heroic rescue unfolding in a New York barber shop. An 8-month-old baby trapped underneath a car which seconds before slammed though the storefront.

FUSCO: Mom was in a little bit a state of shock understandably, and she came to right away and told me that - she pointed under the car and that the baby was underneath the car.

GINGRAS: Yonkers police officers Rocco Fusco and Paul Samoyedny were eating nearby when this surveillance video released by authorities shows a car make a sharp turn, hitting parked cars and then barreled toward the mother holding her daughter in the street. In side the shop you can hear as the officers and others use their strength to free the mother and the little girl.

FUSCO: We weren't going to be able to move the car off of the baby, so the only way to get her out was to try and lift it up.

I got the baby! OFC. PAUL SAMOYEDNY, YONKERS, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: I was just glad we were able to react. As a father of four kids, it was really intensified the situation for me when I saw the baby under there and the arms moving and not able to move any other direction away from the car.

GINGRAS: The baby, covered motor oil, finally freed. She is suffering from a skull fracture and burns. She and mother are still in the hospital but expected to be OK and possibly even released later this week.

Behind bars right now the driver of the car, 43-year-old David Ponserak (ph), arrested for driving while intoxicated and vehicular assault. His attorney did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

FUSCO: Grab the baby! Grab the baby!

GINGRAS: The dramatic video proving these tow veteran officers each with more than a decade on the force are heroes.

FUSCO: I think the both of us in our careers have experienced some horrific scenes. I'm sure most of the bystanders and the people in the community haven't, but they - there was absolutely no hesitation. Everybody there did something to help.

GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Just incredible. Thank you for watching. I'm John Vause. CNN NEWSROOM continues with Isa Soares. That's after a short break. Thanks for being with us. See you tomorrow.