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tv   CNN Newsroom Live  CNN  June 24, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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>> crowd: yamas. [ glasses clinking ] . pointing the finger. u.s. president donald trump questioning whether barack obama did enough on russian hacking. chinese president calls out effort to find villagers to be feared buried in a landslide. and it wasn't funny, but johnny depp over the comments of the assassination. he is not the first celebrity to talk that way about trump. live from cnn headquarters, welcome viewers from around the world.
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i'm george howell. >> and i'm natalie allen. "cnn newsroom" starts right now. >> it is 4:00 a.m. on the u.s. east coast. the president blaming his predecessor for not doing enough. >> the obama white house learned of moscow's meddling in august of 2016. several months before the election. here is what the president told fox news. >> i heard today for the first time that obama knew about russia a long time before the election and he did nothing about it, but nobody wants to talk about that. the cia gave him information on russia a long time before they even, you know, before the election. and i hardly see it. it is an amazing thing. in other words, the question is if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it?
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he should have done something about it. >> it is not accurate to say obama administration did not about it. 35 russian diplomats were expelled and properties were closed in the u.s. >> the president giving that interview to fox news channel. what are the plans to do with that with the trump administration? here is what kellyanne conway said friday. >> the white house, the president met with the national security teams. he has a commission on voter integrity. he has used the power of the bully pulpit to express his resistance to outside interference. so, you know, i answered the question several times. this is an ongoing process. you are dealing with a new report. we will look at that as well. >> that interview, alisyn camerota asked several times that question to find a basic
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answer. so far, there is no evidence of russian interference which changed the votes or affected the out come of the election. >> the article shows how far the kremlin was willing to go to try to disrupt the process. cnn's jessica schneider has details. >> reporter: a new report rev l reveals that vladimir putin gave direct orders to defeat hillary clinton. according to a bombshell report, the obama administration knew putin was directing cyber attacks in the 2016 campaign three months before the election. intelligence from inside the russian government was sent to the white house. it detailed the direct involvement in the hacking meant to disrupt the presidential race. >> this was a moving picture. it is not a clear snapshot of what the russians were up to. at first we thought they were
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trying to do what they always do. pull information and use it later down the road. then it looked like they were trying to interfere in the election. mostly by creating doubt. >> reporter: former national security adviser tony blinken deliberated strategy. >> the more we play it up in public, the more we play their game. we create further doubt by making it into a big public matter. >> reporter: a former senior obama official said it is the ha hardest thing about my time in government. i feel we choked. the post details the authorization to plant cyber weapons in russia ya infrastructure. obama left office before it was complete. questioning why it wmore wasn't
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done. >> i wish he and the administration acted differently. >> reporter: the russian probes are moving forward. hillary clinton's campaign manager will meet next week. john podesta's e-mails were hacked and at the center of the campaign. the committee september a letter to former attorney general to loretta lynch on friday demanding she disclose the con investigation satisfacti versations. the letter is being seen a way to appease republicans and democrats. democrats push for obstruction of justice campaign, republicans are widening the probe to include political interference in the fbi e-mail server.
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jessica schneider, cnn, washington. >> president trump ended the saga on the tapes with the former director of the fbi right where he started it on twitter. >> he is letting the explanation stand. investigators asked for recordings if they existed. our sara murray has more from the white house. >> reporter: president trump may have come clean about the tapes about the conversations with james comey. >> you never know what is out there, but i didn't tape. >> reporter: he is showing no sign of regret over the original story. >> my story did not change. my story was always the truth. you have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. i did not tape. >> it was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in the hearings. >> it wasn't very stupid, i can tell you that. >> reporter: comey testified
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earlier this month the president's tweet prompted him to share memos detailing conversation in the hopes of spurring the special counsel investigation. >> i needed to get that out into the public square. >> reporter: the justice department named former fbi director robert mueller special counsel last month. a move after the dismissal of comey. now the president is raising questions of mueller's ties to comey. >> good friends with comey which is very bothersome, but he's also -- we'll have to see. we'll have to see in terms. look, there has been no obstruction. there has been no collusion. there has been leaking by comey. >> reporter: the president also accused mueller of hiring partisans to staff the investigation. >> i can say that the people that have been hired are all hillary clinton supporters. >> reporter: despite the concerns, white house press secretary sean spicer said the
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president has no plans to remove mueller from his post. >> nothing's changed on that. in terms of the position while he retains the authority. anyone who serves. steve and i had a healthy exchange. he has no intention. >> reporter: after earlier this week saying he did not know if the president believes russia interfered in the election. spicer said donald trump quote thinks it was russia. >> he is concerned about any country or any actor that wants to interfere in elections. >> reporter: as the russia cloud hangs over his presidency, trump is trying to turn to his agenda. signing bipartisan reform. >> we have done a lot. this is a big one. we have a lot of good ones coming. >> reporter: the president is praising the gop push to repeal and replace obamacare. talking up prospects for the draft proposal despite opposition from five senators. >> complicated situation from
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the standpoint you do something good for one group and bad for another. very narrow path. i think we will get there. >> reporter: sara murray, cnn, white house. >> the issues in washington. from london is leslie who teaches human relations at oslo university. good to see you. should congressional investigators get more assurance about the tapes outside the tweet? this comes at the same time the white house is not letting reporters videotape their briefings. it is more like the tweet word is the word. >> it is an interesting question whether or not there are tapes. i suspect that mueller is mulling over whether or not to subpoena tapes. i don't think congress is likely to get very far right now with the tapes because nobody knows if they exist. it is difficult to prove the
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absence of something. this is distressing there is a back and forth on twitter. we have seen throughout the 150 days of the trump presidency on a variety of issues. the tapes are critical. it could confirm the nature of the conversations between former fbi director comey and president trump to understand whether or not there were things said that were really not appropriate that constitute undue pressure on an independent investigation led by comey at that time. they are really critical. i didn't see the tapes if they exist coming out soon. you are right to point out there is a grave concern for the media and for the public about the fact that the briefings are being kept off record as it were. they are not subject to live audio and video recording. that reduced over the last few months. >> it has.
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here we are now learning about this washington post report. as far as president trump's questions about why the obama administration didn't do more when it learned last august, four months before the election, russia was hacking into the u.s. election system. does mr. trump have a point? >> well, there are several things on this. remember, donald trump has spent much of the last several weeks and months denying the validity of the allegations that russia did interfere in the u.s. presidential elections. this is remarkable not only for the evidence or reporting that is coming out of the washington post, but donald trump saying actually there was an issue and why didn't president obama respond? there is a serious question mark about the choices by the past administrations how to deal with it. it is a difficult issue as we just heard. the evidence wasn't in one
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chunk. it was coming out slowly. it was a serious concern on the part of president obama not to take measures that would make things worse in terms of the integrity of the presidential elections and also very significantly not to be seen as partisan with the intervention. i remember the broader context that nobody thought president trump would win the election. if there was concern of the disinformation campaign, i think there was a sense that it was rational to wait to get as much information and to be absolutely sure and revisit the question at a point when we were through the u.s. presidential elections. difficult choice. we will vet that choice for weeks and months to come. >> also the washington post said in political terms, russian interference was the crime of the century. they did not get much more than
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a slap. thank you so much. >> that's right. >> thank you. >> still ahead here on newsroom, a landslide strikes ru s rural . what we know about rescue efforts. and evacuations overnight in london to make sure there is no repeat of the grenfell fire disaster.
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welcome back. rescuers in china are skram crig to save families from a landslide. a family of three has been saved from the rubble. 141 people are still missing. 46 houses buried. the rescued family is a couple and baby girl treated at a local hospital. >> images tell you the story. it struck in sichuan province. the president xi jinping has called on rescuers to do all they can to reach the victims. >> we are getting a look at the area before and after this
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massive landslide. so picturesque here. the buildings before the disaster and what the valley looks like now. covered in rubble. it's hard to believe that's just rubble. that is all kinds of things. trees, mud, rocks, bolders. our matt rivers is in shanghai. he is following developments. matt, they did pull out three people and xi jinping says keep working. any news on any others? >> reporter: at this point, no. we heard from state media reports in this very remote area of sichuan province, they detected signs of life. they believe they have a chance of reaching other people. at this point as far as we know, and this is ongoing, as far as we know, they have not been able to pull anyone else out of the rubble other than the family of
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three. remarkable considering all three people in the same family pulled out at the same time. this happened at 6:00 a.m. this morning. that has something to do with the number of people that are buried underneath all of that rubble you showed in the pictures and video because given that time of morning, most people in the village were probably in their homes. some of them probably asleep unaware of what was barrelling down toward them. the landslide happened at 6:00 a.m. it happened in the high part of the mountain and crashing down into the valley floor which is seemingly where the village was. this is remote village and difficult to access. rescue workers have been streaming in by the hundreds all day long. it started with a couple hundred rescue workers. it got up to 500 in the latest number in the authorities digging through the rubble and using equipment and backhoes to get to the people who remain
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buried. 141 people still missing. it is supposed to rain over the next couple days which is the challenge. also the fact that the nearest hospital is actually four hours away. even if they can pull people out, they still have quite a long road ahead of them to get treatment they need. this is in the first 24 hours of this happening. rescuers are calling this a rescue operation. the hope is it doesn't swiftly turn into recovery operation. given the amount of damage we have seen, that could happen. >> thank you, matt rivers in shanghai. more fallout from the grenfell fire. families out of their homes because the concerns that the building is flammable. >> similar is under investigation. the grenfell fire killed at
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least 79 people. local london officials say grenfell has changed everything. >> i realize it is disruptive to people's lives, but safety comes first. if it is not safe, people need to go. >> what we found while the insulation was safe, the standard was not fire retardant. obviously this was disappointing. we shared that news with our residents and on thursday night, we had a public meeting with residents where they shared a number of concerns about fire safety that i hadn't been aware of. >> let's now bring in a professor of structure engineering at city engineering in the city of london. looking back at the fire, if it was the cladding, how would it help the fire spread so quickly and why are authorities
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concerned about other buildings? >> because it has been determined that the cladding has flammable material. there is a serious risk of fire and, of course, we have seen evidence in the grenfell building. the fire authorities have made a risk assessment and decided that the fire services could not cope with a fire of this magnatuitma. >> kuldeep virdi, we are seeing the images of the grenfell fire. if we take the pictures full to see the cladding on the building. what is the process to remove it? how difficult is it to go back to buildings to identify which buildings are affected and strip them of the cladding? >> well, i think the decision to which buildings to be stripped of the cladding is straight forward.
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we would know which materials were used in the buildings and if it was the case the material was flammable, you decide to move the cladding. the question is whether it is easy to remove or not. i think it is not very difficult because these panels are not very heavy. aluminum and other materials. panelling them is not too difficult. of course, when the cladding is 20 stories high, you have to take care that the persons removing the cladding is safe. it has to be consideration of safety of people removing. as far as the weight of the cladding, it is not heavy. should not be too difficult. >> you know, we hear this from officials. they say grenfell changed everything. in this case, a particular set of buildings. with regards to the scope and scale of the problems could we talk about hospitals or hotels be concerned about the cladding
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on their structures? how common is this type of cladding and how far can it go? >> my understanding is this cladding was used for all the buildings where they decided to do two things. one to improve the appearance of the building and secondly to improve the thermal insulation. the outside issue is for appearance and insulation is to improve the performance of the buildings and retaining heat. from the energy point of view, this would have been a good product. unfortunately, it turned out another aspect of this is whether the material is flammable or not. i think we have seen the case that the material was flammable. it is not the case all cladding systems have flammable material. only some of them do. i think the authorities will have assess which buildings have
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this kind of panel and these buildings will have to be refurbished and removed and something else will have to be put in place. >> obviously the fire in london has drawn attention to the type of panelling. this cladding. now the question in the united kingdom, but what other countries could be affected by this? thank you so much. >> you're welcome. still ahead here, we revisit our top story. more on the report with claims of russian interference with the u.s. election. and when hollywood and washington collide. johnny depp is the latest to stir controversy with a bad joke of the sitting president. it is no laughing matter for the current president. we are live on cnn newsroom.
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4:29 a.m. welcome back to the viewers around the world and united states. this is cnn newsroom. i'm george howell. >> i'm natalie allen. u.s. president donald trump is questioning why the obama administration did not do anything to respond to russian interference during the 2016 election. the washington post reported mr. obama knew of russia plans in advance of the election. >> former obama officials say they did not want to go public with the russian threat because it may play into vladimir putin's hands. mr. obama approved of cyber weapons in the russian infrastructure in retaliation, but it was in planning stages
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when the former president left office. that means it fell in the hands of president trump. a family of three has been rescued alive from all of this after a landslide in china. state media report 141 people are still missing. 46 houses have been buried. the difficusaster happened in sn province at 6:00 a.m. in north london, hundreds of families out of the homes because firefighters say there is no way to guarantee safety of the buildings. they are in temporary how tausi after the tests show the cladding is flammable on their buildings. this comes a week after the deadly grenfell tower fire. the sarcastic response to the washington post reporting that essentially showed the
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former obama administration had information on russian meddling, but the question now what did they do and did they do enough? now let's bring in cnn's diana magnay. diana, the allegation that vladimir putin himself ordered a plan to disrupt and discredit the u.s. electoral process. how are officials responding there? >> reporter: well, pretty limited response so far. we have had a text from the russian foreign ministry spokeswoman saying the show must go on. i think that publicly always the kremlin has wanted to appear as though they are not following every twist and turn of the russia investigation and in fact they used the same terminology as donald trump to describe what is going on in the united states in the media coverage of the russia investigation and all the new revelations as a witch hunt
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driven by hysterical fake news media. privately, though, one would expect there to be some consternation behind the doors of the kremlin if what the washington post reports is true. first of all, this allegation that the cia was told that putin himself had directly ordered the hacking of u.s. electoral systems from a source deep inside the kremlin. the washington post reports. and the second suggestion that president obama put in motion a plan to implant cyber time bombs in russian infrastructure that could be triggered at anytime. as you just said, we don't know how far that plan is in motion, but i think both of those two allegations will concern the kremlin very much. there is a source inside the
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kremlin, a notoriously unleaky body. secondly, the cyber implants. >> we did hear from president trump pointing the finger at his predecessor why he did not do more. when you consider the landscape where the trump administration has imposed new sanctions on russia over ukraine. it is the opposite effect of what he campaigned on. warmer relations with russia. how is that perceived there? >> reporter: you are absolutely right. it is completely the opposite of what president trump campaigned on and the opposite of what russia wanted. what did they want out of improved russia and u.s. relations? rehabilitation on the world stage. they are pretty isolated. the g8 is now g7.
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the oil prices have had a stifling effect on the russian economy. and the president trump administration would improve the ties. now the russia probe will not go away and it has now become effectively politically toxic for president trump to be seen to cozy up to the russians. not actually, but the president met with sergei lavrov and meeting alongside -- sorry, sergei kislyak in washington. nevertheless, this is why you hear from the kremlin this terminology it is in the congress who are trying ruin u.s./russian relations. it does block president trump's
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hands. we have the meeting in two weeks time at the two meetings at g20 on the sidelines. it is highly unlikely much will come of that. >> thank you, diana magnay. something else on donald trump's desk. he is supportive to overhaul u.s. health care with the senate's version of the bill. >> not all republicans feel optimistic. ryan nobles explains. >> reporter: a growing chorus of opposition to the bill from within the party. >> this bill is currently in front of the united states senate. not the answer. this is simply not the answer. i'm announcing today that in this form i will not support it. >> reporter: for conservatives, it doesn't go far enough, but moderates, like dean heller, who faces a re-election bid in nevada says this negatively impacts too many people.
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it call afor changes to medicai. >> the president says the house bill was mean. the senate bill may be meaner. >> reporter: under obamacare, states if they choose to participate, receive federal funds to expand medicaid for low income americans. the house bill would end medicaid expansion in three years and give states a block grant to fund medicaid as they see fit. the senate version phases out slowly starting in 2021. it makes deeper cuts to the overall medicaid program by reducing federal funding over time. the senate proposal extends the expansion life a few years longer. the end result is the same. low income adults will be kicked off the roles. >> this is hurting the people that worked hardest to elect donald trump. >> the federal government cannot afford the increased costs and obamacare is leading to out of control premiums and americans
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losing coverage. >> i want freedom of choice to allow americans to buy coverage that fit their needs and they can afford. >> reporter: it is this argument that is at the core of the decision making process for senators for the gop. both sides calling for major changes with a week before senate leadership promised a bill will be brought to the floor for a vote. still, the white house is optimistic. >> very complicated situation from the standpoint you do something that is good for one group, but bad for another. it is the very, very narrow path. but i think we're going to get there. >> ryan nobles reporting there from washington. colombia rebels freed two journalists abducted last month. they were handed over to the colombia human rights office saturday. the guerrelas that kidnapped
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them. still ahead on cnn newsroom. life at the center of the diplomatic crisis. we head to qatar to see how that counc country is responding to the pressure from the neighbors. and rescuers rush to save lives after a massive landslide in china. derek will have that coming up.
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welcome back to cnn newsroom. the white house is calling a dispute with qatar and other gulf nations a family issue that they should work out together. accusing saudi arabia and bahrain of trying to limit sovereignty after telling qatar they would lift sanctions if a series of demands are met. >> those demands are closing the al jazeera news network.
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reducing ties to iran and closing a turkey military base. and cnn producer joins us now from istanbul with more about it. the list of demands seems like these countries are overreaching with such demands. >> reporter: well, natalie, this move came very suddenly and surprisingly, but of course there is a backstory. the nations that are carrying out the so-called block on qatar said this is a move to stop qatar from funding and supporting terrorism. the backstory is qatar has an active foreign policy. strategic and critical partner in crises around the region and pivotal in trying to establish communication lines between different groups that might not always be able to speak to each other and facilitating communications for western
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governments. and the impact of that foreign policy has been huge compared to how small qatar really is. that has been a source of irritation for its neighbor saudi arabia which views itself and is the dominant player in the gulf. and this list of demands when you look at it. shutting down al jazeera and shutting down the military base in qatar from turkey. it is a capitulation of the country. the qatari officials said the so-called block is what they have been saying it is all along. it is not about combating terrorism. it is not about stopping funding for radical agents around the region but a way to bring in qatar's active and effective foreign policy and really bringing it under the sovereignty of saudi arabia. natalie. >> and now washington is saying you guys deal with this. figure it out and solve it. it is up to the region. who is helping out here and i
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think there is a time limit on the demands. >> reporter: right. there's the time limit is ten days. many countries in the region have offered to help. turkey, for example, is one of them. of course in the list of demands they have been mentioned as well. saudi arabia doesn't want turkey to establish that base in qatar. all of these mediation efforts and the hopes were by the time that aide rolled around. islamic holiday we're in now they felt the situation would be resolved and things go back to detante and it hasn't happened yet. many other countries are trying to mediate and have not been successful so far. natal natalie. >> thank you, gul, in istanbul. george. saudi arabia foiled an attack near the holy site on friday. a suspect planned the attack at
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mecca mosque. he was surrounded by security fou forces when he blew himself up. five people have been arrested in connection to the plot. recap of the news in china. a family of three has been rescued alive from the rubble of the landslide. the couple and baby are treated at a hospital. 141 people are still missing. 46 houses were buried. >> this disaster happened in the village in southwestern china in the sichuan province. the chinese president xi jinping has called on rescuers to do all they can to reach the people trapped in the rubble. our meteorologist derek van dam is following the story. >> reporter: george and natalie, landslides are common in this part of world this time of year. we get annual rains and mountains tower over 5,000 meters. the pitches are between 45
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degrees to 60 degrees. communities are built at the bottom of the mountains. that is a recipe for disaster. get to the image of the graphics. we will talk about what they should expect and what led to the disaster. first, you have to see this. unbelievable. you are looking at it on the tv screen behind me. this is the mountain side that ultimately gave way. there used to be a village. what is now buried under the rubble. scary moment. uplifting news to find signs of life coming among the rubble. what led to this? check this out. we zoomed into the sichuan province in china. to zoom in, we have a lot of cloud cover and moisture across the region. when you have topography or mountains here, it doesn't take much in the moisture in the atmosphere to produce rainfall. we had nearly 180 millimeters in the location vanderbisurroundin
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area. regardless, it is a lot of mountains and significant amount of moisture leading to rainfall. that ultimately leads to landslides. check this out. we have moisture soaking into the sides of mountains extremely steep. the slope fails. gravity wins. that creates the dangerous landslides. this has the snowball effect. it picks up debris down the mountain side. racing down the mountain side at 50 or 60 kilometers per hour. nearly 40 miles per hour. when we have more rain in the forecast, this means that the potential for more landslides and mudslides still exists through the weekend and hampers recovery efforts as they search for survivors and potentially the fatalities across southwestern china. this is the set up. a stationary frontal boundary. this is the annual plum rains
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that continue on a yearly basis to bring heavy rainfall across the region. this sichuan propvince outside the chengdu region. as we head into sunday and monday, that region doesn't have rain in the forecast, necessarily, once we get into the mountains, it doesn't take much uplift and topography to create showers. we will see the annual monsoonal rains pick up and bring chances of rain across the region. you see how the east asia rainy season impacts china and ultimately leading to the potential for landslides and mudslides. this is still a developing story. again, george and natalie, i'm happy to hear the story of the three family members coming out alive from the debris. >> it seems like a miracle. >> it does. >> especially when you see that picturesque village before all this happened.
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>> exactly. >> they were all asleep. thank you, derek. still ahead, johnny depp is apologizing for a joke about the u.s. president. he is hardly the first celebrity to take on a political joke. up next.
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actor johnny depp is apologizing for remarks he made about a presidential assassination. he said he was trying to be funny, but the joke back fired. >> hardly the first person in hollywood to make a political comment which stirred controversy. stephanie elam has the story. >> reporter: johnny depp knew what he was about to say to a crowd in the uk would get a rise out of people. >> when was the last time an actor assassinated a president? i want to clarify. i'm not an actor. i lie for a living. >> reporter: for the record, the answer is april, 1865 when john wilkes booth assassinated lincoln. he is far from the first celebrity to engage in these comments. hollywood leans left, but this
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extremist talk is new. in january, madonna said this at the women's march in washington. >> yes, i have thought a lot about blowing up the white house. but i know that this won't change anything. >> reporter: and snoop dogg's video for lavender, he shoots a clown version of the president with a toy gun. graphic images of kathy griffin holding a mock head of donald trump cost her a job. cnn called the photos disgusting and offensive and fired her as the new year's eve co-host. at issue is free speech versus security. threatening the life of a u.s. president is a federal crime which can result in a fine or up to five years in prison or both. a lot of hollywood stars are traditionally public about liberal politics, but these incidents cross a line. >> there hasn't been anybody
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saying enough is enough. i think that needs to come from hollywood. from the left wing. from somebody who can say you know i voted for hillary clinton, but let's not inn incite violence against the president. >> reporter: as for depp, the white house released this statement. quote, president trump has condemned violence in all forms. it is sad that others like johnny depp have not followed his lead. i hope some of mr. depp's colleagues will speak out against this rhetoric as strongly as they would if comments would be directed to a democrat elected official. an update to the story, depp released a statement to "people" magazine. i apologized for the bad joke last night. i was only trying to amuse. not to harmony o anyone. it is unlikely that depp will be
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arrested for this. this is food for thought about anyone speaking in public about speaking about harming the president of the united states. stephanie elam, cnn, hollywood. and before we leave. this gorilla. this is not computer generated graphics. >> this is zola at the dallas zoo. they recorded him spinning and splashing and having a really good time there. look at that. the zookeeper says play is his natural behavior to show the animal is content and comfortable. >> some gorillas are known to use sticks. check the water level across streams and lakes. if he is thrilled now, imagine what he would be like in the wild. we wish that could happen. we appreciate the tape. adorable. thanks for watching. i'm natalie allen. >> i'm george howell. the news continues here on cnn
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u.s. president donald trump is pointing blame at his predecessor barack obama after a new detail reports hacking efforts by russia. rescue and recovery efforts are under way as china's president calls for an all out effort to find more than 100 villages, who have been buried in a landslide. and johnny dep apologizes for a joke about donald trump that went far. become to our viewers here in the united states and around the world, we're live in atlanta. >> and i'm george howell from

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