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Sources: Comey To Dispute Trump On Russia Probe; U.S. Attorney General Threatened To Resign; Exclusive: Russian False Story Behind Qatar Crisis; Trump's Tweet Link Qatar To Extremist Funding; Saudis Want Qatar To End Support For Hamas; Tillerson: All Countries Should Fight Terrorism; British Voters Head To Pools Thursday For Snap Election. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 7, 2017 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE: Hello everybody! Thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching NEWSROOM L.A. We have three major stories breaking at this hour. Former FBI Director, James Comey, set to dispute Donald Trump's claim that Comey said he was under investigation. Also, sources tell CNN, U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, threatened to resign over an on-going spat with the President. And a CNN exclusive, U.S. intelligence blames Russian hacking for planning a fake news story which has sparked a major diplomatic dispute among Qatar and its neighbors.

Let's start Qatar; CNN's Muhammad Lila, following developments from Abu Dhabi. So, Muhammad, the FBI working with officials there in Qatar to try and place tact back to Russia. Is it safe to assume that Qatar had the intelligence and, you know, for a while now, and that explains why they've had muted response to all of this so far?

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I'm not sure I would describe it as muted. Certainly, Qatar is in the defense of it, and it has to do with this fake news report that was allegedly on one of their Web sites several weeks ago. The way it worked out was-that one of their official government news Web sites put an alleged statement by Qatar's Emir or Qatar's ruler, with a conciliatory tone to Iran and a little bit critical of Saudi Arabia. That didn't play over well in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They demanded an explanation. Qatar came out and said, oh well, this - our official news Web sites were actually hacked, and our ruler, in fact, didn't say that.

Now, that explanation, again, wasn't enough for Saudi Arabia. And tensions have been brewing between Qatar and some of its neighbors for quite some time. And clearly, what this means whether this was a fake news report or whether Russian hacking was involved or not. Clearly, Qatar is now on the defensive. And part of the reason they're on the defensive is the orchestrated nature and a very abrupt nature for how these countries severed relations. Look, the four countries had severed relations. Did so, apparently, it was - seems like an orchestrated move, it was Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain. All of those are very close allies, close American allies. Mind you, so is Qatar, an American ally as well. But those four countries, basically, shut off all relations with Qatar overnight. Now, there have tensions in the part but they never boiled up to this

point, so that is what would've caught Qatar very all guard. And is waking up, basically, in the morning one day and see that they can no longer fly over Saudi airspace, or that the Saudi borders are closed and they can no longer import 90 percent of the food-which is imported from other countries. So, that is part of why Qatar is scrambling right now to try to find a solution to all of this.

VAUSE: We've also had a series of tweets from the U.S. President, seeming to take credit for Saudi Arabia's move to isolate Qatar. Did that take Doha by surprise?

LILA: Well, you have to think that 100 percent this took Doha by surprise. Look, just a few weeks ago, Donald Trump was on his well- publicized visit to Saudi Arabia; there was a convention of dozens of Muslim countries. The ruler of Qatar had a chance to sit down with President Trump. There was a photo opportunity-you could see them laughing and smiling, and looked as though they were - they've been for a long time.

I believe Donald Trump even joked at one point about selling Qatar some weapons. Fast forward, just a few later, Donald Trump is now ripping Qatar very publicly on Twitter pointing out - or effectively taking the Saudi line in all of this, which is that Qatar has been sponsoring terrorism, and financing terrorism. And all of this happened in just the span of three weeks, so clearly this would have caught Qatar very off-guard.

VAUSE: OK. Muhammad, thank you. Muhammad Lila, live there with the very latest in Abu Dhabi. Well, for more, we're joined now by Eric Bordenkircher, a Researcher at the UCLA Center for Middle East Development. Eric, thanks for coming in.

ERIC BORDENKIRCHER, UCLA CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENT RESEARCHER: My pleasure.

VAUSE: I guess, one point, when I said a muted response by Qatar is that they haven't retaliated to the diplomatic actions taken by its neighbors. I'm warning you, are they sitting on this intelligence hoping that this could be some in which eases, you know, this crisis.

BORDENKIRCHER: And you know, what are they going to retaliate with? I mean, Saudi Arabia-much bigger country; they are kind of a hold infused Saudi via the land, the border that they share. So, retaliation there, I don't think it's a smart move on their part.

VAUSE: They contest with Baghdad as well, they've - not their interest, right?

BORDENKIRCHER: Yes.

VAUSE: OK. Before the news about the Russian involvement came out, Qatar's Foreign Minister spoke to CNN's Becky Anderson. He insisted this crisis-all of this is being driven by the misinformation on the state-run news site. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL-THANI, QATAR FOREIGN MINISTER: Whatever is being thrown as a direct accusation is all based on misinformation. And that we think that the entire crisis is being based on misinformation because it's started based fabricated. The news is being waged and being inserted in our national news agencies which were hacked and proved by the FBI that was hacked days before the planned false news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Just because of something he said, the entire crisis being driven by the misinformation, you know, maybe it's sparked by this information dropping-

[01:05:06] BORDENKIRCHER: Yes, obviously. I mean, the relations between the Qataris and the Saudis, so as Iraqi, for quite some time now. And this has kind of, maybe, put some gasoline on the fire, for example. But it's been hot and cold, they kind of go at each other through the media outlets back and forth, sometimes mild, sometimes a little harsher. But this competition, this rivalry that exists between these two countries is out there. And I think this is an opportunity which the Saudis see with Trump coming to the region to kind of get things the way they want, kind of - put everyone kind of behind them, have kind of leading the charge against the Iran.

VAUSE: They can organize the neighborhood the way they like it.

BORDENKIRCHER: Yes, yes.

VAUSE: And Saudi's involvement to the countries is sort of little upstart brothers and the Qatari-

BORDENKIRCHER: Qataris have had a kind of economist kind of foreign policy and it hasn't really always been very, guided.

VAUSE: With that in mind, one of the big issues with their foreign policy is the sponsoring of Jihadi groups, of terrorism. Again, Qatar's Foreign Minister, join the interview, and this is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL-THANI: There is no any support going to Al Nusra or Al Qaeda or others. The work we are going together with our allies in Syria is supporting the armed opposition because our position is firm. There you see that we support the Syria people, to fight for their rights, for justice, and for a free life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Is that kind of half true?

BORDENKIRCHER: I mean, how do we define a radical group? I think-

VAUSE: Well, there are - you'll see that later tonight, yes. BORDENKIRCHER: -- highly created this rather big characterization as put all these groups under an umbrella. Qatar is a concern of country, OK. They're going to have relations with more conservative Muslims. Now, are those Muslim radical? I think it depends on who you ask. But obviously, you know, in these situations, in these wars, in these failed states, you know there is kind of this blurriness. You don't quite know who you're actually dealing with.

VAUSE: You know, when I was in Afghanistan, and you'd be driving these pickup trucks, you know, with the Taliban and they would all have, you know, all the registration stickers from Qatar. So, you know, there is material support going on there.

BORDENKIRCHER: Yes. The Qataris have their fingers in a bunch of things. They are supporting various organizations.

VAUSE: But are they improving on that? That seems to be a general concern here.

BORDENKIRCHER: Improving?

VAUSE: Well, reducing that support in all those activists and have that.

BORDENKIRCHER: I think the situation will cause that to a certainly stand, yes.

VAUSE: OK. As far as the Saudis are concerned they're kind of claimed to have clean hands.

BORDENKIRCHER: There's proverbial was that the pot caused calling kettle black.

VAUSE: Yes. I mean, how much - how involved are the Saudis when it comes to supporting terrorist?

BORDENKIRCHER: I think it's a lot of the - I think it's a lot of the same. I think the Saudis are dealing with a lot of the same individuals that the Qatar is in dealing with.

VAUSE: OK. One of the Saudi demands is for Qatar to end support for the Palestinian Military Group-Hamas. And again, Hamas rules Gaza. You go to Gaza, you see a ton of building, you know, financed by Qatar all over the place. Also, the Jamani end to support for the Muslim Brotherhood, how likely is that?

BORDENKIRCHER: I think Hamas maybe the augment out here. Hamas - the situation is rather for terrorist. You know, they're isolated there in Gaza. They have been pushed out of Syria because they've had disagreements in regards what the Assad regimes, and regards to the opposition, and eventual civil war there. So, they really don't have a home base anymore, and I think of all the groups that may actually kind of be the augment either one is sure to stop here would be Hamas.

VAUSE: That's going to be a few shows for Hamas because I think Qatar was their last financer, their last big backer. BORDENKIRCHER: Yes.

VAUSE: Good to see you, thanks for coming in.

BORDENKIRCHER: A pleasure.

VAUSE: Well, the President's tweets about Qatar seem to have taken many within his own administration by surprise. This is exactly what he posted on Tuesday: "During my recent trip to the Middle East, I stated that there can no longer be funding for a radical ideology- leaders pointed to Qatar. Look, so good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism and all reference is pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end of the horror of terrorism." Now, this is all in contrast with what the Department of Defense has been saying even the Secretary of State; here's Rex Tillerson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The President's message in Riyadh, remember, was to motivate all of the Arab and Muslim nations worldwide in Arab Muslim Summit. That all nations needed to take action against extremism and take action, to also terminate the support, financial support in any ways that they can. And I think every country in the region has their own obligations they need to live up to, and they have their own challenges to live up to that commitment to terminated support for terrorism, extremism, however, it manifests itself anywhere in the world. And I would say that's true of all the GCC countries have - they have their own work to do in that regard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[01:10:15] VAUSE: Joining us now: California Talk Radio Host, Ethan Bearman; and California Republican National Committeeman, Shawn Steele. OK. Shawn, the response from Rex Tillerson, it seems to be typical of what most of the administration had been saying: let's try and keep this calm, let's resolve this to flex through negotiation, let's have it all resolved peacefully. But then you have the President coming on and saying something completely to the opposite of that and taking sides, essentially. What implications-

SHAWN STEELE, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN: I don't think there's great, a great disagreement here. I like Rex Tillerson, I think he's very calming and fluent. But you're expert earlier, made it pretty clear that this Qatar is sudden-a new problem created by the Russians, they've been - they're sort of problems with very wealthy families in Qatar financing extreme terrorism for decades now, also in Saudi Arabia, and also in other Middle Eastern countries.

Now, I have to give Trump some credit, he actually made it very clear that the financing has to stop. Conveniently, the cities decided to point the finger at Qatar that might create a chain reaction where it really is not a good idea to finance Hamas. It merely is not a good idea to finance fundamentalist like Bin Laden, who is also from Saudi Arabia. So, I think it's a trend in a right direction. Rex Tillerson is making a very calm deliberate statement, but I'm sure he supports this. We all do, don't we?

VAUSE: Shawn, look - and to Shawn's point, you know, ending funding for radical Jihadi groups and Islamic terror groups is a good thing. The problem is the Saudis, very wealthy Saudi family, so exactly the same thing. And in a series of tweets Ethan, it seems that the President has sided with Saudi.

ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA TALK RADIO HOST: Right, yes. So, he's picking one side over the other while talking about, do we need to stop terrorism, we had this global summit-Rex Tillerson talked about. Yes, he's ignoring one of the big elephants in the room: Saudi Arabia, and let's not forget as well that the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. We also just had a deal with that President Trump said that he was going to do something about; nothing has happened that's-Iran, number one state sponsor of terrorism. So, picking on Qatar, well, maybe good to work on Hamas and Hezbollah, because I believe Qatar's been an associate with funding Hezbollah's. Well, that's a great start, but ignoring the biggest player in the room-Saudi Arabia, seems problematic to me.

VAUSE: And Shawn, you know, the problem is that there are, you know, complications with this most notably, you know, the Al Udeid air base in Qatar which, I think they all live towns, U.S. servicemen, and women are currently based at. And that is crucial for the U.S., and that's one of the reasons why in the past, you know, they tried to manage this relationship because you need the base; you got to deal with Qatar.

STEELE: My guess is that Saudi Arabia is too strong; they've never gone on the offensive like this before. I also sense, within the city family, royal family itself there's been a dramatic change of leadership. And most of the new leaders are now on their 30s and 40s, there's a whole generation that's been excluded. I'm hopeful, but I don't have a lot of evidence that the cities are really going to make a transformation themselves. The number one problem is the Wahabi religion which is a state religion-

VAUSE: It started in Saudi Arabia.

STEELE: And their financing radical alternate that's all over the world. And as the cities get serious about that, then, I think we're direction. But is a step in right direction. I'm not going to go and punish somebody for going in the right direction.

BEARMAN: Let's not forget that this is just the latest in the series of flash points happening in the Middle East right now. The Yemen civil war is a proxy war that's going on between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This is just the latest in that cycle.

[01:13:46] VAUSE: OK. Stay with us because there's a lot more of our major developments and some very big stories after the break. We want to you to stick around for that. The former Director of the FBI is close to breaking his silence ahead; what James Comey has said about his conversations with the U.S. President. Also, the U.K. gets ready to vote in what once looked like a landslide might just now be much closer than anyone thought just a month ago. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:16:18] VAUSE: Well in U.S. politics, a very big day on Thursday on Capitol Hill. The Former FBI Director James Comey set to testify, sources say Comey will say President Trump misinterpreted conversations they had, including he was not under investigation. Comey's public statement could demon the problem the White House is having with the Russia Probe. President though does not seem to concern about what Comey might say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what message you have to Jim Comey ahead of his testimony?

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I wish him luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Our Political panelists back with us now, California Talk Radio Host Ethan Bearman, California Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steele. OK, so from what we understand the former FBI Director will dispute essentially this statement, well this is one of the statements coming from President Trump on the investigation, listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We had a very nice dinner and at that time he told me, you are not under investigation, which I knew anyway he said it once at dinner and then he said it twice to a phone call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you call him?

TRUMP: In one case I called him and one case he called me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you ask him? Am I under investigation?

TRUMP: I actually yes I'm yes, I said if it's possible would you let me know. Am I under investigation? He said you are not under investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK. So Ethan at this point, who needs luck? Does James Comey need luck? Or does Donald Trump need luck?

BEARMAN: No, Trump's going to need luck because I would suspect that his simplistic world view heard statements from then FBI Director James Comey. Comey maybe said something like you are not the soul worth pure or center of the investigation the focus of our investigation. I promised you've never said you're not under an investigation.

VAUSE: And you know, Shawn it does seem odd that, you know, the FBI Director would make that statement in the first place.

STEELE: I think the whole thing it is odd and I love speculation and frankly Ethan's speculation one of the best speculation that I've heard. But I think there's going to be three questions, did you or did you not did the Donald Trump ask you to step down and walk away from General Flynn? Did he ask you to pledge loyalty and did you tell him directly that he was not under investigation. Now I'm keeping the count of all the fondants that are making prediction about what Comey's going to say. And then on Thursday night, we want acountability or going to score everybody. Ethan you're going to be scored.

VAUSE: Because apparently, Comey won't go as far to save that there was obstruction of justice.

STEELE: We don't know. Do we? But it's brilliant I love it, it's great theater.

VAUSE: OK. At the moment Donald Trump seems to be getting ready for a fight he's in a bad mood, he's very unhappy, he feels like he's had a bit of a gut punch is this what were in reading in The Washington Post. And Ethan, you know, he could actually, you know, react in real time and that includes life tweeting.

BEARMAN: This is a dangerous President remember this is actual Presidential record, this is on the record when he tweets as a matter of fact I don't know if you saw that there is a first amending case against him now coming out I believe it's Columbia University because he is blocking people on Twitter and that is infringing at people's person first memo right.

VAUSE: Because these are official White House statements.

BEARMAN: That's exactly right, this is unbelievable that he doesn't understand the impact of him tweeting, he's damaging his own, well happy for me his own travel ban case, he's going to hurt himself, he's going to say something that's going to get him in very serious meal trouble.

STEELE: I keep hearing that and I think my guts tell that you're probably right but it probably got him elected President but -

BEARMAN: But it's unelected President.

STEELE: It could be but I tell you, if his good at tweet in the middle of Comey's discussions that will be he'll get a lot more attention than Comey will.

VAUSE: OK. Well, there's been calls from both Democrats and Republicans from a lot of people that, you know, begging Donald Trump to stop with the tweeting. This was his reply on Twitter of course "The fake news media is working so hard trying to get me not to use social media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out". OK, so now just, you know, going back to about the media, I think we should talk about. But I want to head to our friends at Fox News listen to Neil Cavuto. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[01:20:25] NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL AND FOX BUSINESS NETWORK SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. President it is not the fake news media that's your problem it's you. It's not just your tweeting it's your escape building, it's your refusal that was seen that sometimes you are the one who's feeding your own beast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: At Shawn, I mean that's Fox News if you lost Fox News you're in trouble. But would you at least admit that you know, the tweets are now more trouble than they were.

STEELE: They could be and I do wince a lot and if I find myself wincing that's probably not a good sign.

VAUSE: But who tells the President that? Because he's just so isolated.

STEELE: Well there, you know, there were reports and again I love these reports, we had so many reports that they just don't pan out but there was going to be lawyers looking at the stuff not, not true at all I don't know when that day of reckoning is going to come. And there's one pond that says that maybe his neurologically wired this is what he has to do it's Donald Trump unfiltered. So, you know, I can't - to me, it make its suspense, it makes it in interesting but like tousle official Presidential policy.

VAUSE: Ethan, hold up because they've won last piece of, you know, editorial front from the conservative publication this is the Wall Street Journal ascending in the editorial he's part of it. "In 140 character increments, Mr. Trump diminished his own standing by causing a major international incident, demonstrated that the loyalty he demands of the people who work for him isn't reciprocal. Set back his policy goals and waste of time that he could have devoted to health care, tax reforms, or "infrastructure week". The most effective opponent of the Trump Presidency is Donald J. Trump". And Ethan in some ways whether it's intentional or most likely unintentional, Donald Trump is working as his own check and balance since he arrived?

BEARMAN: Yes, it's unbelievable; I mean I come to say they're better than what the Wall Street Journal editorial is. He is damaging himself every step of the way and somehow his ego is got in the way, he's used to being a CEO and nobody gets the question him when his in charge of the company. This is the problem we - I have experimented now with hiring a CEO to be our President and now we are finding out why that hasn't happened before why Ross Perot didn't win and why this likely will not lead to another CEO becoming President in the future.

STEELE: Too early to tell. You know, it's still a brand new experience for him, the actions are good the people that his appointed are good. Jeff Sessions who is a great appointment Neil Gorsuch is a great appointment, his policies are good. I'm not so sure I like what he advertises. VAUSE: OK. Well Jeff Sessions you brought up the Attorney General, he apparently is at odds with the U.S. President, Donald Trump is furious that Sessions refuse himself from the Russian investigation because Sessions did not reveal meetings he had with the Russian Ambassador and Sessions has threatened to quit and we are still waiting to hear from the President if he still has confidence in his Attorney General and today being, I'm sorry on Tuesday the White House Press Spokesman Sean Spicer couldn't answer that question but, you know, Shawn if Jeff Sessions is on everyone in the White House must be on (INAUDIBLE) at this point what? Who's going to be left Steve Bannon and --

STEELE: I'm not buying it but we were told that Reince Priebus is going to get fired we hear this every single week usually on Monday. Steve Bannon, he was history, Sean Spicer we'll never see him again and remember Trump told the Mexican President we're going to invade Mexico that Martin Luther King the new York Times told us that Martin Luther King bust was removed. We've been hearing bad stories false story one after another, now the Jeff Sessions saying I'm pretty sure in 24 hours you're going to have a whole note depression of it. But that's a speculation of the moment that's the beautiful thing about television it's a media gratification but it's up in the air.

VAUSE: The Martin Luther King bust was error in tweet, which was apologized for, I think it was a time reporter.

STEELE: It was published in the New York Times.

VAUSE: Yes, I know it was then it was crew report and then the invading monkshood no. He said he'll send the military down there if he can't sold it out it was a threat nothing is going to do it but it was a threat to do it. So you know, they are noises about our differences here.

STEELE: You like to fascias club with Neil Gorsuch?

VAUSE: Well I don't know about that one. But you know, who's going to tell the President that, you know, the time has come that, you know, things has to change.

BEARMAN: Nobody and the kind of the irony we were talking about the tweets is it was Kellyanne Conway who attacked the media for focusing on his tweeting and it was her own husband, a well-respected Attorney who pointed out that Trump was hurting himself with the travel ban if you would stop with the tweets, he just continues terms up he won't listen to anybody we know this. And when alone that we saw Melania slapped his hand away, he's losing everybody in the inner circle.

VAUSE: Shawn there's some who we expect later that, you know, this is a President who is not handling the job very well but he is struggling and, you know, I'm not saying that, you know, people are increasingly asking about his ability, you know, to this job emotionally and, you know, from us, you know, I guess to a - from a physical point of view and does he have the capability to do this?

[01:25:26] STEELE: This is a common refrain. VAUSE: I'm sorry not the right word.

STEELE: I know but this is the same kind of thing they go against some of the media not all the media but this what they said against Ronald Reagan, he's closing and his to mole his not paying attention that's -

BEARMAN: Not all like this. That's not what happened to Ronald Reagan.

STEELE: That's not the real issue. Most Americans and this is important for your international audience, most Americans as a state Senator from black states Senator from Ohio pointed out they don't care about the Russian stuff, they don't care about the conspiracy, they don't care about the swamp material they care about the jobs and the kids and what their futures are going to be. So the five percent chattering classes the very smart people like you and Ethan particularly Ethan this is great speculation but the bottom line is most folks aren't not discussing this to the breakfast table. Comey is going to be at exception that's going to be a world class show but even then that's going to be overcome with those are in events next week.

BEARMAN: And if he accidentally starts a war and that's going to effect.

STEELE: There you go again.

BEARMAN: No, but look when you're doing this Twitter diplomacy you're pitting countries against each other in the Middle East based on alleged -

STEELE: Russia feed country.

BEARMAN: We already have a flash point happening in the Middle East, do we really want to push Saudi Arabia and those other countries closer to the brink of war with countries like Iran and Qatar?

STEELE: They're not going to go and have a war with gutter. Gutter's a little tiny natural gas deposit place.

BEARMAN: It's dangerous; it's a dangerous game being played.

VAUSE: OK. And that we'll say good night, good to see you both. A short break here when we come back, Britain's heads to the polls on Thursday and some say there could be a big upset in the making, a closer look at the moment. And French police investigating another attack in a popular tourist area this time outside Paris's Notre Dame cathedral.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles, I am John Vause, the headlines this hour. U.S. investigators say Russian may have sparked the controversy among Qatar and his neighbors; intelligence shows Russian hackers planted a fake news report betraying Qatar as friendly to Iran and Israel. Several countries including Egypt and Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to dispute Donald Trump's interpretation of their conversation about whether the President was under investigation. Mr. Trump claimed Comey told him multiple times that he was not being investigated. Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

[01:30:00]

(HEADLINES)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In little more than 24 hours in the U.K. for a snap election. Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservatives were eyeing a huge lead when she called the vote a month and a half ago.

But she's watched as the Labour Party has made up ground ever since. It's certainly not the blowout that many people had been expecting back in April.

The polling company YouGov puts the Conservatives at 42 percent, Labour 38 percent, the Lib Dems at 9 percent. Projects no outright winner, morning it could be a hung parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn is unlike past leaders of the Labour Party and that could be just what he needs to pull a massive upset or it could sink his campaign. Here's Phil Black.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man continues to defy many people's expectations. (INAUDIBLE), J.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

BLACK (voice-over): -- or just Jeremy.

Jeremy Corbyn's faithful can be fanatical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I follow Jeremy around the country because he's a fantastic leader. He cares for everyone.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: There's a great mood and spirit here that we're moving on to win this election.

Is that right?

BLACK (voice-over): This left-wing veteran who's never held a senior position in the party became the surprise pick for Labour leader in 2015.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Jeremy Corbyn represents something young, something new, like we're -- he's not a traditional career politician.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only they could have been here today to listen, to be there in the presence of this man, to feel that leadership.

BLACK (voice-over): That's one side of the Corbyn effect.

There's another.

And you find it by traveling away from the rallies into some of Labour's traditional heartlands.

This is Brigette (ph) in Wales, for decades, voters here have been sending Labour candidates to Parliament. But over a drink in The Prince of Wales, we learned why that might not happen this time.

Like his parents before him, and Iron Lewis (ph) has always voted Labour. He did it in the last election, not this time.

BLACK: We were only happily years down the track.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BLACK: What's really changed your thinking so quickly in that time, do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was all technical then.

BLACK: Jeremy Corbyn?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This guy's on teb (ph) he's the mander (ph) and a neighbor. I don't think he got enough substance.

BLACK (voice-over): Here, he party and its leader are losing lifetime Labour voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't trust the polling. I'm feared not. He's not a man you can trust.

BLACK: Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His values are different than mine.

BLACK (voice-over): People here are talking an extraordinary political shift, not just abandoning Labour but doing what was for so long unthinkable: backing the Conservative Party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A remember a time growing up when if I'd said that in the future I would even think Conservative, and I may have been friends, quite frankly, (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: If you were lucky, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACK (voice-over): Jeremy Corbyn entered this campaign the clear underdog. Early opinion polls pointed to a Labour wipeout.

Since then, he's closed the gap significantly. But few outside the leader's circle are talking about a Labour victory.

CORBYN: Don't afraid to witness, though, you know (ph).

(APPLAUSE)

BLACK (voice-over): As the election nears, Corbyn's campaign is still fighting to get past its greatest challenge: growing his personal appeal and credibility beyond a passionate core group of supporters -- Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: And Nina dos Santos is live in London's Abingdon Green.

And, Nina, I guess the biggest thing going for Jeremy Corbyn right now has been a really badly run campaign by the Tories.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: It's partly that but also a lot of what he is talking about has really gelled with the younger voters as well. I've been speaking to a lot of younger voters and youth movements, trying to mobilize the young vote in this country because turn-up hasn't been huge among young people.

And they say that what really appeals to them, as you heard, in contrast with some of the older members of these communities in Phil's piece, John, is that he is talking about issues of social inequality and so on and so forth., things that just haven't really been part of the manifesto of some of the other --

[01:35:00]

DOS SANTOS: -- mainstream parties.

So while he's not a mainstream type of individual but is the second most important party in this country, it is some of it social things that he's talking about that really has gelled with the young people and, according to some polls, if young people is faded is so that he has gelled with the young people.

And according to some polls, if young people do actually turn out in larger numbers in this election than they did in 2015, that could help to swing things for Jeremy Corbyn.

Let's get a little bit more insight though, John, from one of the big political thinkers in this country.

Quentin Peel is an associate with the Europe program at the think tank Chatham House. And as you can see, he joins me here outside the Houses of Parliament. Quentin, as I was just saying there before, the youth vote could be quite significant, couldn't it, for somebody like Jeremy Corbyn. That could swing things very much away from the picture that Theresa May was expecting when she called this snap election.

QUENTIN PEEL, CHATHAM HOUSE: Yes, I think so. I think actually that's really going to be the decisive factor because we see an extraordinary variation in the polls with ones -- and it looks like the Conservatives have a 12-point lead; at the other end, only a 1- point lead. It all depends on how many of the young get out to vote.

And I think the young are still very angry about the referendum results. They wanted to vote to stay in Europe. And they were outvoted because they did not vote.

So the question is, are they going to turn out?

DOS SANTOS: I think turnout in the 2015 election among the young people was 43 percent, 60-odd percent for the national average of all age groups. It is generally older people who tend to vote.

But Theresa May has alienated older voters as well, particularly on social care. And that's going to cost her some points.

PEEL: It's extraordinary actually how badly she's fought this election campaign, I fear. I mean, she started off with this 20-point lead. She should have -- it should have been a coronation. And in fact, she is, as you say, even managed to alienate some of her core supporters of my old-age pensioners like me by worrying them about whether they are going to have to pay for their care and so on.

She has reversed. She's done a flip-flop. And she is the person who the whole election was supposed to be about, Theresa May; strong and stable, the leader who would deliver Brexit, who would provide law and order and suddenly she does not appear to be so solid.

DOS SANTOS: So which way do you still think it's going to go?

Do you still think that the Brexit battle lines are going to define how voting is going to pan out in this election?

PEEL: Yes, I do. I think there is an extraordinary split in the country, which is why it is unpredictable between, if you like, the cosmopolitan cities; London will vote essentially Labour.

DOS SANTOS: (INAUDIBLE).

PEEL: Which it often does but not always. And -- but the old Britain, the rather left-behind Britain of the North of England and the Midlands, they will come out for the Tories and not for Labour.

And that's I think why Theresa May will get a majority but nothing like what you expected.

DOS SANTOS: What's really interesting here is that even though these two big parties, Conservative and Labour, have dominated the electoral landscape for so long in this city, they're likely to get, what, 80- odd percent of the vote.

So there are elements of their core electorate; the youth, in some cases; the elderly, in some cases, that feel alienated.

So ironically enough, that could be a very fragmented Parliament, even if Theresa May does get a very thin (INAUDIBLE).

PEEL: Yes. I mean, we're going to see still a big Scottish Nationalist vote. And there is also -- British politics has fragmented much more than it used to be. Now there has been returned a bit to the main parties in this election.

So Conservatives and Labour may actually recover a bit. But at the end of the day it is a much more divided country and a much more difficult country to rule because Parliament is going to be all over the place, even if the Conservatives end up with, let's say, a 6 percent or 7 percent point lead; they may not have a proper majority.

DOS SANTOS: And Theresa May may find herself challenged for the leadership as well, couldn't she, if she doesn't get enough of a majority.

Quentin Peel, thank you very much for joining us. We're going to have to leave it there.

Quentin Peel there from Chatham House.

So, John, as you can see, There's still a lot to play for. Again, the polls are still showing that Theresa May may well manage to get this. But if she doesn't manage to get a big enough majority, she could face her own position as prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party in peril even if they do get into 10 Downing Street in just a couple of days' time.

VAUSE: Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time to call an election, I guess. Nina, thank you.

We'll take a short break here on NEWSROOM L.A. When we come back, the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral a place of refuge as a chaotic attack unfolds outside. More on that in just a moment.

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VAUSE: New details are emerging about a man who attacked an officer outside of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral. Hundreds of people took refuge inside the locked deb (ph) as police confronted the suspect.

Authorities believe he was alone. CNN's Jim Bittermann has more details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Police sources now have identified the attacker as a 40-year-old Algerian student. He was carrying an ID card to that effect, with kind of an unusual profile and an unusual crime in the sense that he went after a three-man police patrol with a hammer.

He managed to hit one of the police men, the youngest one, 22 years old, who was just a beginner on the force and one of his colleagues immediately shot at the attacker and managed to wound him in the thorax.

Police don't believe that his life is in danger, that he will be able to survive. And they can question him about his exact motivations. But he did say, as he attacked the officer, "This is for Syria."

And that was the amount that the terrorism prosecutor here opened up an investigation for terrorism.

The interior minister, new interior minister here, Gerard Collomb (ph), appeared on the scene a short while later and remarked that this is just one of many attacks. There's been three in the three months against security officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERARD COLLOMB (PH), FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): We see once again the police, the forces, the security forces in uniform are being attacked in our country, like in many other European countries. They are victims of this threat, this terrorist threat, which, in the name of an criminal ideology, are deciding to target the forces of order.

But thank God because of this quick, good response by the police, they were able to protect themselves and the tourists around the church.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BITTERMANN: The jury minister also said that there will be meeting of the defense counsel, the presidential palace tomorrow, to talk about what further can be done to head off terrorism attacks. This was a previously scheduled meeting after the attacks in London.

And the new president here, Emmanuel Macron, wants to develop a task force at the Elysee which will better coordinate intelligence activities -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE). He chairs the department of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA.

Dominic, come back. OK. If we look at the recent attacks in France, they don't seem to be quite sort of the random targets that we have seen -- this was like the Champs-Elysees was a recent attack that the mover now, the Notre Dame, the church.

The are sort of symbols of state.

Do they carry an extra meaning?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA, CALIFORNIA: Right, no, I think each of these sites do and they've also building on prior attacks, for example, the attack on the "Charlie Hebdo" satirical magazine was symbolic to the extent that it's an attack on values of a liberal democracy, freedom of speech and so on.

The attack in Nice was clearly calculated on July 14th, the French Bastille Day so absolutely they have a further register, a symbolic register.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- places, too, there's all security.

THOMAS: They are -- well, especially now. And so because the state of emergency was declared in 2015, has been renewed through parliamentary votes --

[01:45:00]

THOMAS: -- and decrees. In fact, Emmanuel Macron has said that in July, when the current state of emergency expires, he said right after the Manchester attack that he will push for a vote on July 17th to have it further extended to places Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the major symbolic monuments in this country are heavily guarded and because of the state of emergency, not by the police but by the military soldiers walking around with machine guns and so on, too.

And yet it still doesn't prevent these attacks from happening.

VAUSE: Is that state of emergency, simply just the new reality for France? Is there (INAUDIBLE) adjusted to that, that this is how it will be for a considerable period of time?

THOMAS: Right. There's an adjustment to that. It has become a way of life but the state of emergency also allows certain things to happen, which one could argue are absolutely necessary in the face of these kinds of attacks, the ways in which the police are redirected toward conducting certain kinds of work; the way that the military is put on the streets.

So the access to resources, to control, to surveillance and so on are heightened permitted under the aegis of these kinds of decrees and so on.

VAUSE: OK, so we've heard the terror attack in London -- there was Manchester and there was London Bridge and of course a lot is being made that this in the leadup to a general election in Britain. But there are also elections in France starting on Sunday, parliamentary elections. Clearly, this is not the same scale as what's happening in London, which I guess means it doesn't have the same impact?

THOMAS: You think about the French presidential election. You know, back in April-May, in the two runoff stages, the attack that took place on the Champs-Elysees and I think overwhelmingly people would say that did not have a dramatic impact although, of course, the far right tried to try build on that.

But certainly Emmanuel Macron has been very outspoken, has been proposing to create a task force to address and look at these kinds of issues and has been active.

But I think that really going into these legislative elections, this is not the major issue that is -- that is being addressed and it is really an opportunity for him, having created this new party, to see how he can bring this momentum, having been elected just a few weeks ago and being very active on the international stage.

To see how that translates into votes in these legislative elections.

VAUSE: Just quickly, if we look at the images from inside the church, hundreds of people were locked inside. This attack happening outside. But yet it was all very calm. People stood there with their hands on their heads and no one panicked.

This just seems to be people have now adjusted to how you behave in these moments.

THOMAS: People -- and I think that is the point -- the question is the relationship between, say, Parisians and those who were at this particular site, the vast majority would have been tourists, right.

So that's the big question as well. This is how people are learning to respond to these kinds of attacks, to a new kind of global language around questions of terror at tourist sites.

And I think that is what is interesting about this then, about this question, is the expectation of it and, of course, after the 2015 attacks, we saw a dramatic drop in tourism to France.

It is interesting that tourists are still going there but, of course, these big European cities are struggling to address this in the international context.

VAUSE: Yes, thanks to the big story in one of the British newspapers, is Paris safe, so clearly the question's being asked.

THOMAS: It is.

VAUSE: OK, Dominic, thank you.

THOMAS: Thanks, John. VAUSE: The British authorities are facing questions about whether could have done more to prevent Saturday's terror attack in London. Officials have identified the third attacker as Youssef Zaigab -- Zaghba-- sorry. He was placed on an Italian police watch list and the ringleader of the attack may have been one of the most dangerous extremists in the U.K.

CNN's Alex Marquardt has more from London.

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ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of new information from the British authorities today about the attackers, particularly about the alleged ringleader, Khuram Butt, the 27-year- old British national, born in Pakistan, he was investigated in 2015 by the British intelligence services because of his membership in an extremist group that was supportive of ISIS.

He was considered to be a heavyweight in the group; the authorities wanted to dismantle it. Eventually, the investigation was downgraded because there was no evidence that Butt wanted to carry out an attack.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The identities of the London Bridge attackers all revealed. But now the question, how much did authorities know about them?

The latest name, Youssef Zaghba. He was a 22-year-old man, thought to be an Italian of Moroccan origin, who Italian authorities say last year tried to travel to Syria. Instead, he was intercepted by the Italian authorities at the airport before his flight to Turkey, extremist material found on his cell phone.

He was not arrested but placed on Italy's terror watch list.

Zaghba was not a person of interest in the U.K., so the question now is did Italian authorities alert British intelligence officials?

[01:50:00]

MARQUARDT (voice-over): And if so, was anything done?

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: People are going to look at the front pages today they're going to say, how on Earth could we have let this guy or possibly more, through the net?

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The only attacker British authorities say they knew about was Khuram Butt, a Pakistani-born British national. He was linked with the British pro-ISIS group al-Muhajiroun and even appeared in last year's documentary, "The Jihadis Next Door."

(VIDEO CLIP, "THE JIHADIS NEXT DOOR")

MARQUARDT (voice-over): In 2015, an investigation was opened into Butt when no evidence was found that he was planning an attack, his case was downgraded to the lower echelons of investigations, meaning he was not a top priority. The third attacker, Rached Redouane, was not known to the authorities at all and, on Saturday, all three joined together to carry out a basic devastating terror attack that has shaken this country.

MARQUARDT: There are some 3,000 people on a terror watch list here in the U.K. and the mayor of London says that around 400 ISIS fighters have returned to Britain from Iraq and Syria, half of whom are believed to be here in London.

It is a monumental task to keep track of all of them, a problem that, of course, is not unique to the United Kingdom but an issue that is faced by almost all of Europe -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: And in just 18 minutes the terrorists killed seven people during that attack in London. Hala Gorani now tells us about the victims.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were from different corners of the world but their lives converged on London Bridge Saturday night on what began as an evening out and ended in tragedy.

The identities of those killed are still emerging: 28-year-old Kirsty Boden, a nurse from Australia, was killed after rushing to help those injured on the bridge. Her family said in a statement, "We are so proud of Kirsty's brave actions which demonstrate how selfless, caring and heroic she was, not only on that night but throughout all of her life. Kirsty, we love you and we will miss you dearly."

Londoner James McMullen was at a pub with friends on Saturday and is feared dead. His sister told reporters his bank card has been found on one of the bodies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, our pain will never diminish. It is important for us to all carry on with our lives.

GORANI (voice-over): Canadian Chrissy Archibald was killed after being hit by the van on London Bridge. She was with her fiance, Tyler Ferguson. In a statement, her family said she would have no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death. They urged people to honor Chrissy's memory by volunteering at a homeless shelter, saying, "Tell them Chrissy sent you."

Spanish national Ignacio Echeverria is still missing. A skateboarding enthusiast, he was last seen near London Bridge defending someone with his skateboard, according to his brother.

Australian Sara Zelenak is also unaccounted for. According to Australia's Channel 7 news, she has not been seen since Saturday after she got separated from friends.

Sebastian Belanger from France has also not been seen since Saturday. His girlfriend posted on Facebook that, quote, her heart "is broken and I wish no one in this world could feel what I feel now."

As the stories are revealed of lives ripped apart, the victims are from multiple countries and so a devastating loss is being felt far beyond this city -- Hala Gorani, CNN, London.

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VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) testimony in the sexual offense trial of comedian and TV star Bill Cosby. Accuser Andrea Constad testified she visited Cosby at his home 13 years ago to talk about her career.

She said she took three blue pills, which were given to her by Cosby, then lost consciousness. She was jolted back into awareness, she says, by Cosby sexually assaulting her.

During her testimony, Cosby repeatedly shook his head. Cosby's lawyers questioned her credibility. Mr. Cosby denies the allegations and has said he will not testify.

Actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal, are now the proud parents of twins. The babies, a girl and a boy, named Ella and Alexander. Our Chloe Melas (ph) has more on the growing Clooney clan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George Clooney and his wife, Amal, welcomed twins early Tuesday morning and in a statement to CNN, the Clooneys say that everyone is healthy, happy and doing fine.

And George, being his witty self adds he is sedated and should recover in a few days. The twins, a girl and a boy, are named Ella and Alexander. Now these are the first children for both Amal and George, who tied the knot in Venice in 2014.

Amal's boss, Jeffrey Robertson (ph) of Daddy Street Chambers (ph) also wished the couple well, saying, quote, "All I can say anything is that it's a great coproduction."

Now Amal and George have kept a very low profile throughout the pregnancy. But Amal, a human rights attorney, has continued to work and just last month was spotted in London, participating in a discussion about international crimes in Iraq and Syria at Chatham House.

Now George, who turned 56 earlier this month, has joked about starting his family on the later side and says that his friends have given a very hard time about it. But it sounds like he's prepared. He says that he has one skill down pat and that's swaddling.

We're sure he'll be just fine. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: I'm sure he will be.

You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. A lot more news after a very short break.