tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN June 17, 2017 2:00am-3:01am PDT
a u.s. navy destroyer kolt i'ds with a merchant ship off the japanese coast, seven are missing. outrage and mourning in london as protesters demand answers in the tower fire. president trump adding a high powered lawyer to his defense, amid the expanding russian investigation. live from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, welcome to viewers here in the united states and around the world, i am george howell. >> i am natalie allen. "newsroom" starts right now. good day. 5:00 a.m. on the u.s. east coast. we begin with developing news in
japan. these live images you see there, 6:00 p.m. there. what you see the war ship, uss fitzgerald arriving at its base after early morning collision with a philippine merchant vessel. seven sailors are missing. search and rescue efforts are still under way. >> you can see the ship has come back, at least three sailors were medically evacuated from sea but are stable. the merchant vessel seen here has been identified as the philippine acx crystal. reports say none of its crew members were injured with the collision. for more, joined from tokyo by a journalist. any update on sailors that went missing and what do we expect to learn once that ship is back? >> reporter: well, natalie, 15 hours since the collision, the
uss fitzgerald finally made its way back to its home port, which is the home for the uss second fleet. we don't know the whereabouts of seven crew men who have gone missing as a result of this collision, i think there will be a lot going on into what exactly happened in this collision. it happened at 2:30 in the middle of the night local time. especially because we understand most of the damage, serious damage to this ship has occurred beneath the water surface. although you see major damage on the right-hand side of the uss fitzgerald, the understanding is that major damage occurred under the water, that's the reason there was flooding into the vessel. it is 6:00 p.m. here which means there's probably only an hour left of daylight here, the sun will be setting soon which could complicate the search efforts. they're being conducted both by
u.s. military, self defense forces in japan as well as the search continues for the seven missing crew members. there are also a lot of questions asked as to how this kind of accident could have happened in the first place, given that the uss fitzgerald is one of the most advanced ships that the u.s. has in this area and how it could have happened with a container vessel that's huge in size, three times the size of the uss fitzgerald, even if it was in the middle of the night. having said that, the area where this collision took place, 20 kilometers off the coast is a very, very crowded area. a lot of traffic in that area, according to the japanese coast guard because it is basically the main port or entry into tokyo, busy ports in japan. it is a notorious area for crew
going through this area, there have been many inlcidents involving container ships. it happened in the middle of the night. seems to be less damage to the philippine ship which is being used by a japanese shipping company, although we do see a little damage to that vessel as well. that vessel should have docked fairly soon if it hasn't already to another port in japan. there will be investigation surely into that vessel as well. at this point no new updates on the seven missing members of the uss fitzgerald. >> and we also haven't heard from anyone officially on either vessel about how this perhaps could have happened. such a tragedy, especially for the missing sailors. thank you. the big question, how is it possible, how could this happen that a sophisticated war ship
would collide with a container ship. i spoke with cnn military analyst rick francone. >> this is a combat ship traveling through international waters, of course has all its electronics on and deck watches, even though the middle of the night, this is a combat ship, ready for action. to be approached by a ship of this size is puzzling to everyone. has two surface radars. how could this happen to cause this much damage. it is boggling now, everybody is asking the same questions. we'll know more. i looked at the ship tracking, it was following the route of this container ship and it was on an erratic path, but the uss fitzgerald should have seen that and been on guard. >> you spoke about timing. again, this happened around 2:30 in the morning local time there.
what would staffing have been like, what would the situation have been like on that destroyer at the time this happened? >> as i said, this is a u.s. navy war ship. they might have been scaled back a little bit but still would have a full complement on board. the combat information center would be manned, all weapons systems manned, it might be down to minimum manning, still be an officer of deck, everybody on the bridge watching what's going on. it is officer of the deck's job to know what's going on in the area. so for a container ship to be able to approach a u.s. navy destroyer is puzzling. >> rick, let's look at the ship itself to get a sense of damage to understand what happened here. you see, you know, it took quite a rescue operation to get members off the ship. talk to us about that, how that all came together. >> well, if you look at the pictures, it is very telling. you see damage above the water line. what's more important and more damaging is the impact under the
water line. these container ships, most of them, this one does, i checked, has a bowl bus bowl, under the water line, projection under the ship. when the vessel struck the destroyer, didn't just hit a bump, put a huge hole under the water line. that's why you have three blooded compartments. that was the initial problem. had to seal off the three compartments because it took on water. i understand they're trying to pump that water out of there, but this is a big operation. at the same time, they have to address crew and rescue. there are other navy ships in route, navy aircraft in the air and japanese coast guard helping as well. big rescue operation under way. we've got to resolve what happened to the seven crew. >> lieutenant rick francona. thank you for your insight. u.s. justice department officials tell cnn growing friction at the top levels of the agency, all related to
sudden dismissal this month of the fbi director. president trump confirms he is now under investigation for firing james comey. >> much of the president's frustration seems aimed at rod rosenstein, the number two man at the justice department that appointed special counsel, robert mueller, to take over the russia probe after comey was fired. jeff zeleny has more on that. >> reporter: president trump saying publicly for the first time today that he is under investigation. as the probe of russia's influence in the 2016 election expands. i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man that told me to fire the fbi director, witch-hunt. that man is deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who made the decision to appoint special counsel to investigate whether the trump campaign callused with russia. rosenstein, a veteran of justice
department, received the president's praise. >> highly respected, very good guy, smart guy. the democrats like him, the republicans like him. he made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey. >> reporter: it is the firing of fbi director james comey that investigators are now exploring to determine whether the president was trying to obstruct justice. in the oval office today, the president hud elg with aides before traveling to miami to announce new restrictions on travel and business with cuba. >> we will enforce the embargo. >> reporter: the president's agenda overshadowed by the russia investigation as he is lashing out on twitter. after seven months of investigation and hearings about my collusion with the russians, nobody has been able to show any proof, sad. a white house official said tweets were less spontaneous than a strategy by the president of taking matters into his own hands. this is a political fight and he is going to fight it, the official said. but the russia cloud threatening to engulf the president far more
than political. cnn learned members of the transition team received a memo urging all volunteers and aides to preserve any records relating to russia, ukraine or investigations into top trump campaign officials in the inquiry. all this two years to the day after mr. trump jumped into the republican primary. as he returned to the white house tonight, now six months into his term, questions not even imagined back then weigh on his presidency. president trump adding a new high powered lawyer to his legal team, john doid that led the investigation into pete rose, also defended senator john mccain in the keating five scandal so many years ago. he will be joining the president's own legal team. so many of those lawyers have been advising the president not to tweet, not to talk about this investigation. so why is he doing it? a person close to him told me, he is simply trying to discredit the investigation. jeff zeleny, cnn, the white
house. >> thank you. that will be the first point we talk about with a writer, columnist, political and nis ellis hen i began from new york. >> good morning. >> heard jeff zeleny's report, the president continuing to tweet. this is his way apparently to, quote, discredit the investigation. let's talk about that. he says he is under investigation, keeping up that aggressive stance on twitter. how could this help or hurt the president, could the tweets be taken as evidence? >> first of all, it is classic trump, so i think he's going to do it, and highly likely to keep doing it. it's a very risky approach. boiled down to simplest terms, if you are angering the people whose job it is to investigate you, doesn't it make them more likely to be rougher in that investigation? his lawyers and any other lawyer would say boy, that's not a really good strategy, but boy,
it's trumpian. >> could those be used in a court of law? >> it does seem to be so. the case is made a little stronger when the press secretary the other day referred to those tweets as official white house documents. this really is the way the president communicates, so sure, i would certainly expect to see his comments in court record, as we have seen in the court case over the travel ban where the judges, appellate judges repeatedly quoted things the president has said. >> now to talk about the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, the president even sent out a tweet about him framing the investigation as a witch-hunt and now there's the possibility that rosenstein himself may have to step aside, may have to recuse himself. >> that's right, though not because of the president's claim
it is a witch-hunt. the issue here involves rosenstein's role in writing a memo that suggested the firing of fbi director james comey. you know, he could conceivably be a witness in this case, so you wouldn't want to have the guy who was a witness also being involved in supervising the investigation. that's where that would come in assuming the investigation goes that direction. yeah, it is pretty likely he will not be in that position too long. >> there's been talk of whether the president would fire robert mueller. obviously as we turn focus now to the attorney generals and possibility that another, the deputy attorney general may have to recuse himself, where do we go from here? >> that's a good question. everyone in the white house and outside advisers urging the president to not fire bob mueller. that's going to look terrible, even if you have the legal right to do it.
but you know, it is going to stay wild. his job is still not secure, trump really may fire him. rosenstein's position is unclear. the chain of command, what would happen, depending on who leaves, who is recused, who gets fired, forced out. one piece of advice, pay close attention. it is going to keep changing really quickly. >> thank you very much. we'll continue to keep up with it. appreciate it. >> great to see you guys. thank you. hundreds of people on the streets of st. paul, minnesota friday, they were protesting the verdict in the castile case. demonstrations followed a decision to acquit the officer of second degree manslaughter in the shooting death. >> he said he fired because castile reached for his gun despite being warned not to. his girlfriend said he was reaching for identification. shortly after the verdict was
announced, castile's mother called the verdict incomprehensible. >> my son loved this city and this city killed my son. and the murderer gets away. are you kidding me right now? we're not evolving as a civilization, we're devolving. we have taken steps forward. people have died for us to have these rights and now we're desolving, going back to 1969. damn. what is it going to take? >> angry and understandably grieving mother there. castile's death led to nationwide protests, partly because his girlfriend broadcast his shooting on facebook live. still ahead on "newsroom" anger in london, people are demanding answers after a deadly tower fire.
more on the growing tension straight ahead. also, queen elizabeth's official birthday, the annual color celebration set to begin in london and she also talked with fire victims. we'll have more about this coming up. the u.s. president is making good on a campaign promise, what that could mean for the u.s. and cuba, their relations, as "newsroom" continues. new neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair with the proven power of retinol. reduces wrinkles in just one week. neutrogena® ♪ whoa that's amazing... hey, i'm the internet! i know a bunch of people who would love that. the internet loves what you're doing... ...so build a better website in under an hour with...
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the mood in london shifted from shock to anger as people demand answers after the deadly tower fire. >> that's scene there, people marching the streets, residents are angry, asking how the fire destroyed their apartment building as quickly as it did. many of wondering who is to blame. >> police examined the apartment where the fire started, there's no evidence it was started deliberately, however, there's criminal investigation into the circumstances. at least 30 people were killed, that number is expected to rise. >> meantime, an effort to help survivors there continues. british prime minister theresa may announced friday a 6$.5 million fund was set up to help victims of the fire. following the story, or enlieberman live on the streets
of london this morning. we have seen a great deal of anger in london, slightly different scene today, you can set the scene for us. >> reporter: it is, george. i would say the mood shifted once again, a mood of determination and resolution to do everything it takes to help those in need, that after so much anger we saw yesterday. let me show you what's behind me, this is one of many memorials so close to the tower fire that is growing. flowers, messages, candles, some lit since last night. messages like i pray for justice, peace, love, joy, god will take care of you. what else has grown here is the number of faces of the missing. we saw a few early yesterday, now there are more missing posters as families still seek answers they're looking for. that's part of what drove the anger, so much anger we saw on the streets. anger boils over as a city
grieves. residents, friends and family protesting over how they say their concerns were ignored, how they say they are being treated after this tragedy. near grenfell tower, the feeling is similar. >> this is classic, proper of the people. >> reporter: pictures of the missing, each one an unanswered question, lack of answers fueling frustration. >> people on the top floor, elderly, have no charts, not one chance of surviving. >> let's focus on human lives inside the building. >> reporter: the fire is bigger than one community, it resonated around the city, echos of grief and anger growing louder. >> why wasn't enough done to prevent this, you know, gentrification, making this and all of the other new builds and
at the cost of human life, it is unacceptable. someone needs to be held to account. >> reporter: this is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in london, a short distance from multi million dollar homes and porsches. residents of the tower say they live in a different world, ignored, invisible to the officials that are supposed to represent them. they say that fire would never have happened right here. >> i would like to know how much of that went to make it look nice. >> reporter: he lived next to the tower, watched it from the beginning. >> it may have been an eyesore but certainly wouldn't have killed anyone. >> reporter: there's tremendous amount of gratitude here but for volunteers that pack supply vans with donations. and for the firefighters.
the government ordered public inquiry and criminal investigation has been launched. still, the anger evident. residents are shouting for accountability. >> we want justice, we want justice. >> reporter: those cries growing louder with each passing hour. as for that help, that determination at the noting hill methodist church, they have taken a brief break, they're bringing out so many supplies stored here the past couple days, packing up different vehicles, making sure those that need help are getting it. george? >> they're coming together. oren lieberman, live in west london. the queen issued her official birthday message, it is her official birthday, mainly a tribute to those called in the disasters that hit the uk in recent weeks. >> visited victims of the london tower friday friday, as well as first responders and community leaders there. short time ago released this message, reading in part, today
is traditionally a day of celebration, this year, however, it is difficult to escape a very somber national mood. put to the test, the united kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity, united in our sadness, weary kwally determined without fear or favor to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly effected by injury and loss. >> that fire occurring days before her official birthday celebration. it will involve the annual trooping of color ceremony on this day. her actual birthdate is in april. she's 91. but the celebration always happens in june. >> that's right. the parade i should say is set to get under way soon. after that, the queen will appear at buckingham palace balcony with the royal family for the classic photo op. >> joining us, richard fits williams. we know this celebration is on
this day in june for the weather to be better, but certainly adds her official statement indicated there's a cloud over this year's birthday for her. >> yes. unquestionably. i think it is a very significant statement by the queen. she talked of the somber mood and also the terrible tragedies that have effected britain in recent weeks and also paid tribute to those who offered comfort and support. i mean, she and the duke of cambridge were at grenfell tower and i think their visit was tremendously appreciated because this has been the most ghastly fire. this is something that with a message like this, the queen is very much reaching out on a day which is normally celebrator, as a failure of national unity to those who suffered. and i think it is very
important, britain is on the verge of brexit negotiations, the country deeply divided and three terrorist attacks and this absolutely dreadful fire have clearly darkened the national mood. >> absolutely. it seems surreal to turn on the television this week and see this fire in london. just couldn't believe yet another thing that the country and people have to go through. certainly that's why this queen is beloved. right after this fire, she's there, talking to people regardless of the fact her birthday is officially right around the corner. >> absolutely. as you mention, she has -- this is quirky they have one when they're born and another timed for good weather. we have the troopg of color
parade today, which of course is linked with medieval times when the color was representative of your knowledge, that you were with friends and where your particular regiment was, distinguishing friend from foe in what could be a confusing situation in a battle. it is the first battalion, the irish guards who are trooping the colors today. that's one of the regiments, and colonel is duke of cambridge, prince william. i think this will be a parade done with very, very considerable color, precision. it is always a magnificent show. the queen attended every one since 1947, save one in 1955 which was cancelled by a rail
strike. she's very much the expert on the way the parade is conducted. >> i would think so. at age 91, isn't it amazing how she looks so great and gets around so well. >> well, it is absolutely extraordinary. there's no doubt at all that physically the queen is in amazing shape. parliament will open next wednesday. she reportedly will make royal as cot that afternoon. you know how she's about the races, her stamina is extraordinary. i would mention as we admire of trooping the color, we are reminded of defense cuts, that britain's soldiers are doing such a great job in protecting britain and also their contribution to wider world peace and these soldiers whom
you see with all of the procession of color and ceremony are all serving troops. >> very good note to end on. we thank you so much. look forward to seeing it, the beautiful colorful fly by that occurs. thanks so much. coming up, why it could become more difficult for americans to go to cuba or do business in that country after a move by donald trump. and we'll hear from havana, what they think about that. one of germany's longest serving leaders died. a look at helmut kohl's lengthy career. who hugs a friend. who is done with treatments that don't give you clearer skin. be the you who controls your psoriasis with stelara® just 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis.
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welcome back to our viewers here in the u.s. and around the world, you're watching cnn "newsroom" live. i am natalie allen. >> and i am george howell with headlines we are following this hour. the uss fitzgerald at home port in japan after a collision with a large container ship, a nighttime collision. japanese and u.s. ships are searching for seven missing crew members from the american destroyer. three of the injured required medical evacuation, including the commanding officer. the navy says all three are in stable condition. dennis rodman from beijing after wrapping up a five day trip to north korea. former u.s. basketball star met with north korean athletes during his visit, gave the sports minister a copy of u.s. donald trump's book "the art of the deal." rodman scheduled to return to the u.s. later saturday. protesters filled london streets in the wake of the apartment tower inferno. the british prime minister theresa may had to be hustled
away from the demonstration friday. at least 30 people are confirmed dead in that fire. a criminal investigation is under way. police say nothing suggests the fire was started deliberately. u.s. president added another attorney to his defense team. washington lawyer john dowd will help manage legal challenges over the widening russian investigation. mr. trump confirmed on friday he is under investigation. cuba is denouncing donald trump's decision to impose tighter restrictions on tourism and business dealings with havana and says he is resorting to coercive methods that are doomed to fail. >> mr. trump announced friday he is rolling back key parts of the deal that his predecessor, barack obama, made with cuba. more from havana. >> reporter: before an audience of anti-castro cuban exiles in miami's little havana, donald trump didn't hold back. >> now that i am your president,
america will expose the crimes of the castro regime. >> reporter: undoing barack obama's cuba policy that opened the communist run island to more u.s. visitors and investment was a trump campaign promise. soon, most americans won't be able to book their own trip to cuba, will have to join a guided tour to make sure their dollars don't go to the cuban military which controls large parts of the economy, including hotels. increased restrictions that worry americans already visiting cuba. >> coming to cuba is not only wonderful for americans to find out the other side but it's a very interesting place with wonderful people and i just think that it's a horrible idea. >> i love it here, people are amazing, the culture is rich, every day has been beautiful experience and i think something like that would dampen our relationship. >> reporter: u.s. cuban
relations will be hurt but it won't be a full roll back. the american flag will continue to fly over the newly reopened u.s. embassy in havana. u.s. cruise ships and airlines will continue service to the island that restarted in 2016. but in an exclusive interview with cnn, cuban officials that coordinate anti-drug smuggling efforts with the u.s. are afraid increased cooperation will suffer under president trump. the biggest impact will be felt in the u.s., he says, because cuba is not the country the drugs are coming to. fundamentally, the drugs go north, if there's a step backward in cooperation, the impact will be felt in the u.s. the trump policy is designed to target the cuban government for human rights abuses, not the cuban people. but they're getting caught in the crossfire. the trump administration says too much money generated by the cuba opening has gone directly to the pockets of the cuban
government. a lot of that money has also gone to the cuban people. air bnb says over $40 million of cubans that rent their homes, money that helps fix streets like this one in old havana. private entrepreneurs like this company that rents classic cars and tours were banking on more americans coming to the island. already in this garage we have 14 employees, she says. before we ran it all out of my house. we grew a lot and all thanks to increasing tourism. much of the emerging sector is banking on the hope for better relations with their neighbor, the united states. a future that's increasingly in doubt. >> thank you. the kuhn acuban government rema open to respectful dialogue. >> we spoke with richard quest about impact on new restrictions on tourism and business once
they take effect. >> the question that u.s. companies will have to grapple with is how the trump administration is going to define certain terms. today, the treasury department came out with guidance and said anything that's already in place will be permitted. so what companies are going to try to do, try to get as much done in the next 90 days in cuba. now it puts pressure on cuba because basically donald trump said in classic trump fashion, okay, i'm giving you an opportunity, you have 90 days to use it or you lose it. we'll see what the cubans do. >> so this is basically a grandfather clause. if you've already got your contract, you can carry on. >> that's correct. starwood manages one property, four points, they can continue. carnival, north weej and, they can continue. the airlines, they can continue. the question is in the details in terms of how the trump
administration defines an entity that's controlled by the cuban military. the cuban government during the final two years of the obama administration basically said if it will bring us money, we'll welcome it. if it costs us money or costs us control, then we're going to take it under advisement. there's an irony here and tragedy at the same time and that is president trump went to miami today, and the only two reasons he just didn't go there to play golf was the weather, and his cuba speech. had the obama administration and cuban government during the last two years focused on an election outcome last november that didn't include president-elect hillary clinton, then much of all of this, trump administration wouldn't have been able to do anything because u.s. businesses would have had such a landscape, such roots in cuba. but neither the cuban government nor the obama administration did everything that they could and
that's why we're in this position. >> that was president of the u.s. cuba trade and economic council speaking with cnn's richard quest about the roll back to parts of obama administration's cuban policy. the business world had a few sha shakeups. amazon bought whole foods for $13.7 billion. >> not to be outdone, one of the amazon competitors, walmart expanded its web presence. picked up an online men's apparel company. >> a giant of the dot com boom is gone. yahoo is no more after verizon closed a deal for the core business. what's left is a holding company called altaba. no decision on future of
american actor bill cosby, but he is speaking out. we'll tell you what he's saying, thanking the jury. you don't let anything keep you sidelined. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you. new neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair wrinkles? your time is up! with the proven power of retinol. reduces wrinkles
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new, more reliable equipment for your home. and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. the u.s. congressman who was shot at a baseball practice on wednesday has improved but remains in critical condition. doctors say steve scalise will need further operations after undergoing second surgery for internal injuries and broken leg. scalise one of four shot when a gunman opened fire as republicans practiced for a charity baseball game. >> that game went ahead as scheduled, democrats won but gave the trophy to their opponents, it will be kept in scalise's office. the jury in the bill cosby
trial will go back to deliberating. earlier this week told the court they couldn't decide, the judge sent them back to work. friday, bill cosby himself spoke to reporters. >> i just -- i just want to wish all of the fathers a happy father's day and i want to thank the jury for their long days, their honest work individually. i also want to thank the supporters who have been here and please, to the supporters, stay calm. do not argue with people. just keep up the great support. >> cosby has pleaded not guilty to three criminal charges of aggravated indecent assault.
je >> reporter: this is the woman going head to head against bill cosby in a pennsylvania criminal courtroom, testifying that the television star drugged and assaulted her at his pennsylvania home in 2004. andrea constand came forward a year later, alleging the man she once called her mentor sexual assaulted her while she was director of basketball operations at temple university in philadelphia, cosby's alma-mater. cosby, decades her senior, admitted sexual relations with constand, but said at all times it was consensual. criminal charges were never filed because the district attorney said he couldn't prove the accusations. constand filed a civil suit that was ultimately settled for an undisclosed sum. the criminal case was forgotten until this. >> we are here to announce today charges that have just been filed against william henry cosby.
>> reporter: over a decade later, pennsylvania's 12 year statute of limitations allowed prosecutors to file three criminal charges of aggravated indecent assault against cosby, after they were provided with new evidence from the unceiling of his 2005 civil deposition. cosby admitted in that sworn testimony to giving quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with, quickly changed that answer to only one woman who he said consented to the drug, claiming he misunderstood the question. that civil deposition has come before this jury as well as a firsthand account from one of cosby's nearly 50 other accusers, attempting to establish a pattern of conduct. kelly johnson testified she was drugged and assaulted by cosby in 1996. >> he said would i give you anything that would hurt you? trust me. >> reporter: but cosby continues to maintain his innocence and
his defense argued this in court. >> after, i stress after this so-called incident, the complainant continued to contact mr. cosby, the complainant accepted a dinner invitation from mr. cosby, the plaintiff returned to mr. cosby's home, and ultimately after returning to canada, the complainant asked for tickets to a concert he was performing at, went to the concert, and presented him with a gift. >> again, the jury convening yet again today. after the cold war ripped europe for decades, he helped heal bitter divisions it created. when we come back, the life and legacy of helmut kohl. whoa that's amazing... hey, i'm the internet! i know a bunch of people who would love that. the internet loves what you're doing...
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megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. germany and world leaders are mourning the man remembered as the father of german reunification. >> helmut kohl, former long time chancellor of the nation died at home in western germany, 87 years old. fred pleitgen looks back at his life and legacy. >> reporter: november, 1989, the
fall of the berlin wall. the beginning of the end of the cold war. west german chancellor helmut kohl in the limelight. behind the scene there was suspense. >> the night after the fall of the wall was the most decisive moment. >> reporter: it was a make or break moment. how would the soviets react? helmut kohl said he and then u.s. president george h.w. bush assured the soviet leader gore was chof that soviet forces in the east wouldn't be attacked. >> gorbachev trusted our work, decided not to send in the tanks. >> reporter: helmut kohl peace cli helped the two germany toss unity, hailed as father of reunification. the excitement of the moment wore off, economy in the east was in disarray, many former communist companies were shut down, there was mass unemployment and mass
discontent. kohl promised the east would flourish, but after 16 years and three terms in office, the german public was no longer convinced of his efforts on the economy and he was finally voted out. his tenure full of other hard fought, controversial accomplishments. when he came to power in 1982, he supported the stationing of u.s. medium range nuclear missiles in germany, a response to soviet ss 20 missiles in eastern europe. kohl faced down fierce protest over policies supporters say helped win the cold war. others say germany's sought to seek ties with moscow did more to tear down the iron curtain. >> translator: my strategy was to do everything possible to keep the idea of unified germany alive. >> reporter: his political thinking from the start was defined by the horrors of world war ii. he lost his brother on the battlefield of france, was
determined it must never happen again. >> translator: when gorbachev visited, we sat along the ryan river and talked about experiences of world war ii. his father was seriously injured, his brother was shot. i lived through more than 100 raids in my hometown. we both knew what we were talking about when it came to war. >> reporter: in 1984, he and then french president agreed to meet on the first world war's bloodiest battlefield. their handshake, the most powerful image of franko-german reconciliation. >> translator: we held hands as example, wanted never to go back. >> reporter: after the wall came down, the two leaders joined force again as the driving force with a european union and single currency. critics today say they rushed into it. after kohl left office in 1998, his image was seriously damaged.
his party involved in campaign donations fraud scandal and the former chancellor admitted he had known about it. still, kohl refused to say where the illegal money came from, a move many germans viewed as a disgrace, and there were personal tragedies. in 2001, kohl's wife took her own life. she had been suffering from a rare allergy to light. then in 2008 kohl remarried, the 44-year-old economist. not long after, a bad fall confined him to a wheelchair, difficult years in which he withdrew further and further from public light. now that the world looks back on the life of helmut kohl, he will be remembered as the father of german reunification and the country's longest serving post war chancellor. that is cnn newsroom. i am natalie allen. >> i am george howell. for viewers in the u.s., new day
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